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Recognizing Globalization

Formulate a balanced explanation of the key aspects of globalization and the main challenges and opportunities they present for Canadians and people in other countries.

Outcomes References Related Resources

Suggested Activities

Students explore globalization by formulating a balanced explanation of the key aspects of globalization and its range of challenges and opportunities.

Classify news events: Global or local?
Introduce the lesson by distributing copies of the front pages of sections of a national newspaper. Form small groups and ask students to skim the headlines and contents of every item in their front page and decide whether each event has a primarily global or local dimension.

To meet diverse learning needs, you may want to provide a sampling of fictional or actual newspaper headlines, such as those listed below:

  • Medical Researchers Getting Closer to a Breakthrough in AIDS Treatment
  • Federal Government Gives Millions to Local Movie Producers
  • Local Live Theatre to Close: Cannot Compete with New Multiplex Movie Theatre
  • Rising World Oil Prices Means Billions More Dollars into Alberta Economy
  • Internet Shopping Brings the World to Your Home
  • Attendance in French Language Programs Has Doubled
  • Alberta Sends Welfare Newcomers Back to Ontario
  • Local Newspaper Lays off Staff. Plans to Use More Syndicated Columns.

Alternatively, you may wish to focus on local, provincial and/or national news events that impact the local community.

Share findings on global and local dimensions
Invite students to share their conclusions about the international and domestic dimensions of the reported events. Encourage discussion of the obvious and less obvious ways in which events have international dimensions; e.g., local athletes may have trained or competed internationally.

Introduce concept: Globalization
Introduce the concept of globalization through a brief lecture or a short reading from the textbook or other source. Ask students to share any ideas that come to mind. After some discussion, ask whether globalization has the same meaning as internationalization or ask if an event could be international but not global in scope; e.g., Is going to visit a cousin south of the border an example of globalization? Invite comments about whether globalization is a good or bad development. Try to stimulate uncertainty about the meaning of globalization and whether it is a positive or negative phenomenon. Raise issues such as the impact of globalization on trade, culture and the environment. Point out both positive and negative effects of globalization on political, social and economic conditions.

Consider statements on globalization
Announce that students will have the opportunity to formulate a clear, balanced statement on globalization and the challenges (negative implications) and opportunities (positive implications) it presents to Canadians and others.

Assemble various statements on globalization and place copies in envelopes (see sample statements below). Distribute to each group of three or four students an envelope containing cards with various statements and definitions that you have assembled.

Use a word sort to learn new terminology
You may want to use a strategy to assist students in understanding unfamiliar terminology.

To use a word sort, select words that are important but likely to be problematic. Write these words on slips of paper and place them in an envelope that you distribute to each group. Ask students to place the slips of paper on the table. Take a few minutes to provide clear explanations of the selected words. Invite students to identify other words they are unsure of. Provide a brief explanation of the additional words.

After students are familiar with all the words on the slips of paper, ask them to gather related words and explain their relationships.

Identify positive, negative and balanced views
Ask each student to select a globalization statement, identify the author's definition of globalization and decide if the statement reflects a positive, negative or balanced view of globalization.

Encourage students to highlight words or phrases that describe globalization and its implications–both positive and negative. Students may want to colour-code the positive and negative views by highlighting positive words or phrases in one colour, e.g., yellow, and negative words and phrases in another colour; e.g., green. Invite students to discuss their observations in the group.

Sample Statements on Globalization

Globalization (or globalisation) is a term used to describe the changes in societies and the world economy that result from dramatically increased international trade and cultural exchange.

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia


Globalization simply refers to the complex of forces that trend toward a single world society. Among these forces are mass communications, commerce, increased ease of travel, the internet, popular culture, and the increasingly widespread use of English as an international language... a process, well underway, which trends toward the undermining of national sovereignty, and therefore citizen's rights, in favor of the economic interests of gigantic transnational corporations. The latter already comprise more than half of the largest "economies" of the world, and are vastly more powerful than most governments.

The Progressive Living Glossary


Economists typically define globalization as increased economic integration across countries, including increased volume and decreased barriers to international trade and capital flows. As a result, domestic markets for both inputs and finished goods behave more like a single global market.

Chris D. Gingrich


Globalization also is about the homogenization of everything from biology to law and jurisprudential principles; from food to films to language to sales and consumption. Globalization, therefore, is about the corporatization of all life. It is about crushing people's dreams of communities, regions and nations across the world of one day governing themselves. Globalization is about the end to the idea of human rights...the end to the idea of species rights, place rights–accompanied by the commodification of everything under the sun (from water to soil to space, to, of course, the sun itself).

Richard Grossman


At its most basic, there is nothing mysterious about globalization. The term has come into common usage since the 1980s, reflecting technological advances that have made it easier and quicker to complete international transactions–both trade and financial flows. It refers to an extension beyond national borders of the same market forces that have operated for centuries at all levels of human economic activity–village markets, urban industries, or financial centers.

Markets promote efficiency through competition and the division of labor–the specialization that allows people and economies to focus on what they do best. Global markets offer greater opportunity for people to tap into more and larger markets around the world. It means that they can have access to more capital flows, technology, cheaper imports, and larger export markets.

International Monetary Fund Web site

Formulate a balanced statement on globalization
Ask each group to use words and phrases gathered from the statements to formulate a brief explanation of globalization that meets the following criteria:

  • clearly and simply defines the key aspects or features of globalization
  • identifies the range of opportunities and challenges presented by globalization
  • is balanced in its representation of differing perspectives on globalization.

Share statements on globalization
Post each group's globalization statement around the room for future reference.

Review news events: Local or global?
Ask students to reconsider and revise their classification of news items as primarily local or global. Direct students to justify their revised classifications by referring to their newly formulated statements on globalization.

Review news events: Positive and/or negative?
Ask students to indicate how each of the globalization news events may have both positive and negative implications for Canadians and others.

Select an example or two to illustrate the potential positive and negative implications. For example, a policy of subsidizing Canadian films has both positives and negatives. On the positive side, the policy supports local film producers and ensures that Canadian and international audiences have access to Canadian films. It may also contribute to national identity. On the negative side, the policy may mean that inferior films are supported with public money. Other excellent producers who are not Canadian may be discriminated against. In addition, it may reduce Canadians' access to other countries' films, and it may create tensions with film communities in other countries.

Make a chart of news events
Ask students to make a chart of the news items. Students may indicate if the event is local or global and explain the potential positive and negative implications for Canadians and others. Ask students to be sure that their decisions are consistent with their statement on globalization and that their statements on implications are plausible.

You may want to adapt the chart and strategies in Positive and Negative Factors (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.

Issues that impact Aboriginal peoples
Teachers may want to identify issues that have important ramifications for Aboriginal peoples such as the debate to reconsider the Mackenzie Valley pipeline in light of social, political and economic changes that have occurred since the 1970s (see References).

Extension: Create collages
Invite students to create collages of images, headlines and key statements to represent their understanding of globalization.

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