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Globalization and Cultural Identities

Prepare an effective set of questions to gather information about the impacts of globalization on the identities of various groups.

Outcomes References Related Resources

Suggested Activities

Students investigate the impact of globalization on Canada's founding nations and cultural communities by deciding whether globalization has, on balance, enhanced or weakened community identities.

The focus of these activities is on gathering information from surveys or interviews of local community members. You may prefer to extend this examination to communities elsewhere in Canada or the world by helping students use e-mail contacts (see References). Alternatively, you might locate print or online case studies of various communities that would provide students with suitable information.

Introduction to Globish
Introduce the idea of globalization's impact on personal and collective identity by discussing the existence of Globish–a 1500-word language based on English that is used to promote global communication (see References).

Form small groups. Ask students to discuss the impact of any requirement to use Globish by considering these questions:

  • Would this requirement lead to assimilation?
  • Would people who could not or would not learn Globish be marginalized by others?
  • What would be lost if language were homogenized in this way?
  • What advantages might there be to global commerce and communication if everyone could speak a common language?
  • Would an individual's sense of solidarity with others around the world be strengthened?
  • In the long run, would the universal use of Globish enhance or weaken a sense of identity?

Introduction to opportunities and challenges
Introduce the ways in which globalization offers challenges and opportunities for identities and cultures. Using text resources available to your students, provide a brief explanation with examples of various globalizing influences, including the following:

Opportunities for Identities and Cultures


Challenges to Identities and Cultures






cultural revitalization


affirmation of identity




Identify opportunities and challenges
In small groups or as a whole class, brainstorm possible examples in their own communities of each of these influences; e.g., newcomers may be marginalized because of an inability to speak the dominant languages or because of cultural differences; affirmation of identity may occur because of multicultural television and increased international travel and exchanges. Remind students to look for examples of global effects, not effects that are attributable largely to domestic influences.

Introduction to strategies: Interviews and surveys
Introduce the idea of students conducting interviews or administering surveys to gather information on how cultures and identities have changed over the past 20 years and on whether those changes have been positive or negative.

You may prefer to bring in several knowledgeable speakers to answer students' questions or to send teams of students to poll members of Canada's founding nations (i.e., English and French), First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and other cultural communities; e.g., Haitians, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Moroccans, Belgians, Germans, Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, Irish.

Identify and discuss the kind of information students will need to collect. Students can consider these questions:

  • How has globalization in its many dimensions has changed individual and collective identities?
  • Have these changes primarily enhanced or weakened individual and collective identities?

In discussing how students might recognize if an identity was enhanced, consider whether individuals and communities experience the following conditions:




stronger feelings of attachment or belonging (more important to the person or group)




richer experiences (more personally satisfying)




greater freedom (more options/greater diversity)



more comforting mindset (less disruptive or upsetting)



Write effective questions for surveys or interviews
Form teams to prepare questions. Ask students to use these criteria to guide the preparation of effective questions that:

  • make sense to the person being asked
  • invite a response with examples
  • relate directly to the information needed.

Encourage students to structure their questions so that respondents can explain their answers and not simply answer yes or no. Students might ask questions such as:

  • Do you feel that your community has developed a stronger identity in the last 20 years or a weaker one? Please explain.
  • What have you gained or lost as an individual living in a more globalized world? Why is this important?

Provide formative feedback on the questions. Allow time in class for students to revise their questions with your support or that of their peers. You may want to agree on a common set of questions for the entire class or allow each team to set its own questions.

You may want to adapt one of the charts in Recording Our Research (Support Material) to structure the survey or interview form.

Conduct surveys or interviews
Suggest that each team interview or distribute the survey to five or more people within an identified group. To gather a variety of points of view, students should ask both men and women and people of various ages and circumstances. Remind students to understand that these individuals may not represent the entire group but taken together, their responses to the questions may represent the group's perspective.

Analyze results of surveys and interviews
Direct students to collate the results of their surveys by grouping responses under appropriate headings; e.g., Type of change, Positive effects, Negative effects, Other information. Encourage teams to use common headings to allow for comparisons across communities. In addition ask students to identify the changes in terms of the specific challenges and opportunities listed above; e.g., acculturation, assimilation.

You may want to adapt one of the charts in Collecting Information (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.

If the surveys do not provide sufficient information on the effects of globalization, you may want to provide additional information or assign students to conduct additional research.

Share results of surveys or interviews
Ask each team to share its findings with the class. Record the main ideas on the board or on a chart.

Rate the impact of globalization
Ask students individually or in small groups to rate the effects of globalization on a five-point scale from "greatly enhances" to "greatly weakens." Remind students to consider the earlier indicators of an enhanced identity; e.g., stronger attachment, richer experiences, greater freedom, more comforting.

You may want to adapt one of the charts in Rating Options (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.

Share ratings
Arrange for students to exchange their assessments with other students. Ask students to reach a conclusion about the effects of globalization on individual and collective identities in the communities surveyed.

Extension: What is my role?
Ask students to discuss their roles in addressing the opportunities and challenges of globalization.

Last updated: May 30, 2008 | (Revision History)
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