Project Description

Course Description

This course examines the nature of culture; how cultural identities are acquired, maintained, and transformed; and theories used to analyse cultures. Students will explore world cultures, with an emphasis on the analysis of religious and spiritual beliefs, art forms, and philosophy. They will study the contributions and influence of a range of cultural groups and will critically analyse issues facing ethnocultural groups within Canada and around the world. Students will develop and apply research skills and will design and implement a social action initiative relating to cultural diversity.

Course Code: HSC4M

Course Name: World Cultures

Department: Social Science and Humanities

Hours: 110

Credit Value: 1.0

Pre-requisites: Any university or university/college preparation course in social sciences and humanities, English, or Canadian and world studies.

Curriculum Policy Documents: The Ontario Curriculum, Grade 9 to 12, Social Science and Humanities, 2013 (Revised)

Growing Success: Assessment evaluation and Reporting in Ontario School, First Edition Covering Grade 1-12

Development Date: August 2019

Developed By: Jimmy Chia, B.A.(Hons), M.Ed. BEd. (OCT)


Revised By: NA

Revision Date: NA

Overall Curriculum Expectations

  • A1. Exploring: explore topics related to human development, and formulate questions to guide their research.
  • A2. Investigating: create research plans, and locate and select information relevant to their chosen topics, using appropriate social science research and inquiry methods.
  • A3 .Processing Information: assess, record, analyse, and synthesize information gathered through research and inquiry.
  • A4 .Communicating and Reflecting: communicate the results of their research and inquiry clearly and effectively, and reflect on and evaluate their research, inquiry, and communication skills.
  • B1. Understanding Culture: demonstrate an understanding of the elements and functions of culture and of the nature of cultural influence.
  • B2. Cultural Dynamics: analyse how cultural identities are socially constructed, preserved, transmitted, and transformed.
  • B3. Theoretical Analysis of Culture: demonstrate an understanding of theories and concepts related to the study of culture, and apply these theories to analyse various cultures.
  • C1. Art, Philosophy, and Religion: demonstrate an understanding of artistic expressions, philosophies, and religious/spiritual beliefs found within specific cultures, and of how these expressions relate to various aspects of those cultures.
  • C2. Cultural Expressions in Context: analyse specific cultural expressions and a range of factors that can affect them.
  • C3. Contributions and Influences: assess the contributions to and influence on various cultures/societies, including Canada, of a diverse range of ethnocultural groups and individuals from those groups.
  • D1. Power Relations: demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics of power relations within specific cultural groups and between minority and majority cultures.
  • D2. Policies and Issues: demonstrate an understanding of past and present policies and issues affecting cultural diversity in Canada, and compare approaches to such policy in Canada with those in other countries.
  • D3. Social Action and Personal Engagement: design, implement, and evaluate an initiative to address an issue related to cultural groups or promoting cultural diversity.

Course Content

Unit Unit Title Approx. Duration
Unit 1 Research Skills and Understanding Culture 25 hours
Unit 2 Cultural Dynamics 25 hours
Unit 3 Cultural Expressions 25 hours
Unit 4 Critical Cultural Issues 25 hours
Culminating Task and Exam 10 hours
TOTAL 110 hours

Unit Description

This unit establishes the framework for the study of world cultures.  Since this is a research-based course of study, the unit presents various disciplines and theoretical perspectives from which cultural behavior can be viewed.  We will explore the various definitions of culture and understand the differences and similarities.  The elements and functions of culture will also be investigated here.  Finally, the social-science research methods used in the study of culture and society will be described.
This unit looks at how culture is intimately connected to our identities. Specifically, students will understand the components of their identities which is profoundly affected by culture.  We will also examine how cultural identities are socially constructed, preserved and maintained in groups and in individuals.  Finally, we will look at how cultures are transmitted within groups and also outside of the social group.  This will also help us understand how our cultural identities are transformed in time.  The concepts learned here will be applied on various cultures throughout the unit.
In this unit, we explore the cultural expressions in art, philosophies and beliefs found in cultures of the world.  We will also look at how culture affects the expressions and range of factors that come into play.  Alternatively, we will also see how the expressions contribute to and influence the culture in turn.  The contributions and influences of various cultures on other cultures will be explored with a focus on Canada.  The concepts learned here will be applied on various cultures throughout the unit.
In this final unit, we will explore the critical issues in relation to culture affecting Canada and in other parts of the world today.  We will look at the power dynamics between minority and majority groups in various countries.  Students will demonstrate an understanding of how policies in the past and present affect cultural diversity in Canada and abroad.  Students will also work on developing and implementing a plan of action to address issues related to culture or that promotes cultural diversity in various arenas of society.  The concepts learned here will be applied on various cultures throughout the unit.

Teaching/Learning Strategies

  • Research project
  • Independent study
  • Oral Presentations
  • Debate
  • Case summary
  • Presentation
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Computer-Mediated Instruction
  • Lectures
  • Discussions
  • Reading
  • Pair Work
  • Role Play
  • Brainstorming
  • Group work

Unit Organization

Assessment Strategies

For Learning As Learning Of Learning
  • Diagnostic assessment
  • Debate
  • Classroom discussion
  • Role play
  • Reading aloud
  • Researching
  • Classroom discussion
  • Debate
  • Unit test
  • Research paper
  • Group Project
  • Presentations
  • Role play
  • Debate

Evaluation Strategies

Evaluation focuses on student’s achievement of the overall Expectations. Evaluation is basically collected from; observations, conversations, and student products.

Student Products include: tests, exams, rich performance tasks, projects, presentations and /or essays. Students submitting assignments that involved group work will be evaluated individually.

Before making a decision about a student’s final grade, the teacher will consider all the collected evidence of student products. The teacher will also consider that some evidence carries more weight than other evidence.

Achievement Level Percentage Mark Range
4+ 95-100
4 87-94
4- 80-86
3+ 77-79
3 73-76
3- 70-72
Achievement Level Percentage Mark Range
2+ 67-69
2 63-66
2- 60-62
1+ 57-59
1 53-56
1- 50-52

The final grade will be determines as follows:

  • 70% Seventy percent of the grade will be based on evaluation conducted throughout the course.
  • 30% Thirty per cent of the grade will be based on a final evaluation and the summative administered at or towards the end of the course.

Evaluation/Assessment Plan

Unit Unit Title Approx. Duration KICA % Application
Unit 1 Research Skills and Understanding Culture 25 hours 25/25/25/25
Unit 2 Cultural Dynamics 25 hours 25/25/25/25
Unit 3 Cultural Expressions 25 hours 25/25/25/25
Unit 4 Critical Cultural Issues 25 hours 25/25/25/25
Culminating Activities (ISU and Final Exam) 10 hours 25/25/25/25
   TOTAL   110 hours

Program Planning Considerations

This course will include a variety of instructional strategies to help students become independent, strategic and successful learners.  The key to student success is effective, accessible instruction in order to empower students to become lifelong learners. Students will be required to identify the main concepts and skills of the course, consider the context in which they will apply their learning and work toward meeting the stated learning goals.
During this course, the teacher will provide multiple opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills and consolidate and reflect upon their learning. It is the student's responsibility to make the most of each learning opportunity provided and grow in their understanding and application of learning skills and strategies that will ensure success in this course and in life beyond.
In planning this course for students with linguistic backgrounds other than English, the teacher will create a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment that nurtures the students’ self-confidence while they are receiving course instruction. Most English language learners who have developed oral proficiency in everyday English will nevertheless require instructional scaffolding to meet curriculum expectations.  The teacher will adapt the instructional program in order to facilitate the success of these students in their classes.
Appropriate adaptations and strategies for this course will include:
  • Modelling of expectations
  • Reference to and use of online ESL and subject-specific and dictionaries
  • Concrete examples and materials whenever possible
  • Use of a variety of learning resources including visual material and cues, , graphic organizers and visual
  • Materials that reflect cultural diversity
  • Pre-writing strategies
  • Previewing course readings / texts
When at all possible, this course will include opportunities to integrate environmental education into the material studied, encouraging the students to explore a range of environmental concerns using issue-based analysis and some of the following strategies:
  • Community Connections
  • Environmental Perspective
  • Simulation
  • Problem Solving
  • Surveys
  • Co-operative Learning
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Cross-curricular connections
When appropriate, the students will have opportunities to analyse the environmental impact of the concepts being studied, such as the impact of Canadian and international political policies, Canadian and international laws, cultural and social differences, human rights legislation and the protection and stewardship of the Earth.
Every student is entitled to learn in a safe, respectful and caring environment, free from violence, discrimination and harassment. Antidiscrimination education encourages all students to:
  • think critically about themselves and others in the world around them in order to promote fairness, healthy relationships, and active responsible citizenship.
  • work to high standards, as it affirms the worth of all students, and helps students strengthen their sense of identity and develop a positive self-image.
  • value and show respect for diversity.
The course content will use the following strategies to help create a healthy learning environment for all students.
  • Developing a learning environment where all students feel safe
  • Promotion of diversity and inclusivity in the classroom
  • Getting students involved within their school community
  • Making community connections
  • Peer tutoring
  • Role playing
  • Group discussion
  • Case Study analysis
Classes taught within the Ontario curriculum seek to create an atmosphere of equity and inclusion based on respecting diversity, promoting inclusive education, and identifying and eliminating discriminatory biases, systemic barriers, and power dynamics that limit the ability of students to learn, grow, and contribute to society.
The Ontario curriculum entrusts educators to create an environment based on the principles of inclusive education, where all students, parents, caregivers, and other members of the school community – regardless of ancestry, culture, ethnicity, sex, physical or intellectual ability, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or other similar factors – are welcomed, included, treated fairly, and respected.
During this course, the teacher will give students a variety of opportunities to learn about diversity and diverse perspectives.
Teachers provide varied opportunities for students to learn about ethical issues and to explore the role of ethics in decision making.  The teacher will support and encourage students to make ethical judgements when evaluating evidence and positions on various issues, and when drawing their own conclusions about issues, advancements, and global events.
During this course the teacher will provide support and oversight to students throughout the inquiry process, ensuring that students engaged in inquiry-based activities are aware of potential ethical concerns and address them in a respectful manner. If students are conducting surveys and/or interviews, teachers will supervise student activities to ensure that they respect the dignity, privacy, and confidentiality of their participants.
The teacher will thoroughly address the issue of plagiarism with students.  Students will be reminded of the ethical issues surrounding plagiarism, and the consequences of plagiarism will be clearly discussed before students engage in an inquiry.
The following strategies will be used to develop students’ understanding of ethics:
  • Making community connections
  • Peer tutoring
  • Role playing
  • Group discussions
  • Case study analysis
  • Simulation
  • Problem solving
  • Cross-curricular connections
  • Media connections
  • Surveys and interviews
  • Model ethical behavior
  • Explore ethical standards
  • Explore ethical concerns
  • Inclusive practices
  • Foster positive relationships with others
  • Assist students in developing an understanding of ethical judgments
  • Assist students in understanding confidentiality standards
There is a growing recognition that the education system has a vital role to play in preparing young people to take their place as informed, engaged, and knowledgeable citizens in the global economy. Financial literacy education can provide the preparation Ontario students need to make informed decisions and choices in a complex and fast-changing financial world.
Because making informed decisions about economic and financial matters has become an increasingly complex undertaking in the modern world, where appropriate, the teacher will give students the opportunity to build knowledge and skills through a variety of activities in problem solving, inquiry, decision making, critical thinking, and critical literacy related to financial issues. Students will come to understand the social, environmental, and ethical implications of their own choices as consumers.  Strategies that will be used will include:
  • Community connections
  • Simulation
  • Problem Solving
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Cross-curricular connections
  • Issue-based analysis
  • Critical literacy skills
  • Setting financial goals
  • Developing intra-personal skills
Literacy involves a range of critical-thinking skills and is essential for cross-curricular learning. It is the responsibility of all of our teachers to explicitly teach literacy and inquiry skills. Literacy, mathematical literacy, and inquiry/research skills are critical to students’ success in all subjects of the curriculum and in all areas of their lives.  Students will be exposed to literacy skills relating to oral, written, and visual communication.  The following skills will be developed in this course:
  • Reading, interpreting, and analysing various texts, including diaries, letters, government legislation and policy documents, interviews, speeches, information from non-governmental organizations, news stories, and fiction and non-fiction books
  • Extracting information
  • Analysing various types of maps and digital representations, including charts, diagrams, pictures, etc.
  • Using appropriate and correct terminology, including that related to the concepts of disciplinary thinking
  • Making community connections
  • Peer tutoring
  • Role playing
  • Group discussions
  • Case study analysis
  • Simulation
  • Problem solving
  • Cross-curricular connections
  • Media connections
  • Kinesthetic opportunities
  • Foster use of proper terminology
  • Inquiry and research skills
  • Help students to develop a language for literacy, inquiry and numeracy skills
  • Assist students with developing communication skills in areas of literacy, inquiry and numeracy
Central to successful education is the focus on experiential learning.  Planned learning experiences in the community, including job shadowing and job twinning, field trips, work experience, hands-on experiences and cooperative education, will provide our students with opportunities to see the relevance of their classroom learning in a work setting, make connections between school and work, and explore a career of interest as they plan their pathways through secondary school and make postsecondary plans.  Planned learning experiences in this course will include:
  • Experiential Learning: Library visits, Guest Speaker, Role Playing, mock trials, writing anthology, author visits, writers reading, theatre workshops
As part of every course, students must be made aware that health and safety in the classroom are the responsibility of all participants – at home, at school, and in the workplace. Teachers will model safe practices at all times and communicate safety requirements to students.  Health and safety issues not usually associated with a particular course may be important when the learning involves field trips and field studies. Teachers will preview and plan these activities carefully to ensure students’ health and safety.
Although Sophio Academy does not have an official school library, students are encouraged to use e-books, local libraries, and archives to develop important research and inquiry skills.
Sophio Academy maintains and expects a high standard of academic honesty from all of its students as a vital and essential part of their character growth, academic practice and in preparation for their post-secondary studies. Students are expected to properly reference and cite the work of others in their course work and assignments using the proper recognized MLA formatting. As plagiarism is a serious offence that can have significant consequences, Sophio Academy is committed to instilling the values of honesty and hard work within our students which involves the proper acknowledgement of other's ideas and work.