“We can love what we are, without hating what – and who – we are not. We can thrive in our own tradition, even as we learn from others, and come to respect their teachings.”

Kofi Annan (1938 – 2018), former Secretary-General of the United Nations
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This free ESL lesson plan on multiculturalism has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Multiculturalism has become a hotly contested topic of debate in recent times. From around the 1970s, multiculturalism became the official policy of many Western countries that had large numbers of immigrant communities. The idea was to promote acceptance and equality amongst these different cultures but many people, including the British Prime Minister and German Chancellor, have criticised this policy as actually leading to the segregation of certain communities, the exact opposite of its intended aims. However, the fact remains that in many countries, different cultures continue to live side by side and efforts are needed to promote social cohesion and understanding between these cultures. In this ESL lesson plan on multiculturalism, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as how multicultural their country is, the importance of social cohesion and why multiculturalism is considered to have failed.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for the World Day For Cultural Diversity For Dialogue And Development, which takes place in May, or the International Day For Tolerance, which takes place in December. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

Vancouver Sun | “The pros and cons of diversity”

The article talks about some of the negative consequences of multiculturalism in Canada and how far a society should go to accommodate the cultural practices of cultures they may disagree with. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. The questions for the video are styled in a way similar to an exam like the IELTS.

The video for this class is by TRT World and discusses whether or not multiculturalism has failed. The video highlights some of the issues associated with multiculturalism in the UK, as well as some of the counterarguments to those criticisms.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the students’ ideas about what multiculturalism is and whether this makes people more or less tolerant of others.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with multiculturalism such as assimilate, integrate and melting pot. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about multiculturalism. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as why multiculturalism is perceived to have failed, how accepting people should be of different cultures and how different cultures can learn to understand each other better.


After the class, students will write about their opinion of multiculturalism. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.


Did you find this lesson plan useful?

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4 thoughts on “Multiculturalism”

  1. Hey,

    Both of the pdfs are the teacher´s version (with answers). Any chance of having the student version? Thanks!

  2. Your resources are amazing. I love using them in my classroom especially the international day plans. Thank you ssooooo much. _)

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