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A stimulating lesson that challenges negative attitudes towards immigrants.

Students look at the expansion of the British Empire and consider the difference between what happened then what's occurring now.

Students are also led to think of their own inherited past and to embrace a multicultural Britain.

Lesson objectives

By the end of the lesson, ALL students will learn: That immigration has occurred for hundreds of years.

By the end of the lesson, MOST students should learn: That the British Empire is responsible for Britain being multicultural.

By the end of the lesson, SOME students could learn: That colonisation was a far worse process for natives than immigrants entering Britain today.

Activities for the lesson

Equipment required: ICT Internet / projector, Whiteboard, Printed handouts

Lesson starter - Concept cartoon 1


In a role play exercise, students to imagine they are an office manager looking to hire someone for a job.

Students are given page 1 of Handout 1 - Concept cartoons with a list of people and limited information. Each student has to choose who they would employ and why, and write their choice down on the handout.

Concept cartoon 2


Students are now given page 2 of Handout 1 - Concept cartoons with the second cartoon. This has more information on each individual.

They can now change their minds and choose a different individual or stay with their initial choice, but all answers must be justified. This should also be recorded on the handout.

What's the subject?

Whole class

Students are asked to make educated guesses as to which subject they will be looking at during the lesson.

The lesson objective is to explore immigration in the past and understand why Britain is multicultural; to challenge the stereotypical thoughts of immigrants and realise it is no different to what the British people did centuries before.

This exercise is used to assess whether the students hold preconceived ideas about people from other countries holding jobs in the UK.

Video clip

Whole class

Teacher to introduce the lesson subject and ask students to watch the video at the top of this page.

My thoughts


Students to write down their initial thoughts to the video in the first column on Handout 2 - My thoughts. Do they agree with the points expressed on the video? Do they have their own ideas?

These will be revisited at the end of the lesson.

Food grid


Students to complete a food grid on Handout 3 with their own favourite meal.

They should be encouraged to think about the origins of the food, where it came from and how it got to be a popular dish in the UK.

Even if the favourite food is roast dinner, MacDonalds or chips students should be directed to think of where the potato originated from.

Make the link


Using Handout 4 - Make the link, students to look at the list of countries and try to make a link between them. This could be done as a think, pair and share exercise.

The aim is to get the students to link all the places that were either in the British Empire or had British colonies. This is intended to demonstrate the huge presence the UK has over the world.

The British Empire

Whole class

Students to read Handout 5 - The British Empire and discuss the following points:

  • Does this make a difference to what they thought about immigration?
  • Is it fair that other countries can now do what the British did hundreds of years ago?
  • Immigrants are looking to improve their standard of living and immigration is a sharing of belief, culture and food.

The Empire can be expanded upon by teachers' own knowledge i.e. Welsh convicts being sent to Australia, the Dominions being used to fight during the World Wars.

Revisited thoughts


Students should return to their thoughts sheets; Handout 2 - My thoughts, and detail their new thoughts in the second column.

The review


Students to look at the positives and negatives associated with immigration and therefore a multicultural society and note these on Handout 6 - Positives and negatives.

If students need a helping hand, negatives could include the impact on the country the immigrants are leaving or if students believe that immigrants have a negative impact on Britain.

Written comments


Teachers can use Handout 7 - Comment sheet to collect written comments from the students.

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Key skills and learning skills

  • Communication
  • Application of number
  • ICT
  • Problem solving
  • Working with others
  • Improving own performance
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Exploring meaning
  • Reflection
  • Research skills
  • Presentation skills

AFL strategies

  • Sharing learning objectives
  • Use of questioning
  • Effective feedback
  • Modelling
  • Pupil self assessment
  • Peer assessment
  • Ongoing assessment
  • Adjusting teaching/reviewing
  • Plenary

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