Racist behaviour

Lesson overview

Learning Area:English – Humanities and social sciences 
Age Group:Primary Upper (10-12 years) – Secondary Lower (13-14 years)


Students discuss the meaning of racism and identify the forms and effects it may have.


Sometimes it is hard to recognise racism, especially if you’re not the target.  Racism may be direct or indirect, individual or institutional.

Resources needed


  1. Brainstorm the class for definitions of racism.
    • Give worksheet Definitions of racism and compare definitions.
    • Give worksheet Categories of racist behaviours and discuss the different categories of racism.
  2. Divide the class into groups and distribute one set of activity cards Examples of racist behaviour in school context to each group.
    • In groups students discuss whether the behaviours listed are examples of racism or not
    • Students sort the cards into the categories given.
    • After ten minutes ask students to report back to the class on whether the behaviours listed were all examples of racism or not and whether they found any of the examples difficult to categorise and discuss why. Refer to Teaching Controversial Issues [PDF] .
  1. Download worksheets Recognising racism at school and Effects of racism on your IWB. Make photocopies for each student.
    • In groups discuss whether students have ever experienced or witnessed the examples of racism described in Recognising racism at school.  Share comments as a class.
    • Discuss in what ways students think racism effects people and then read Effects of racism.  Who in the school community is affected by racism? What might be the result of some of these examples of racism?