Rediscovering "Roots": The Immersion Stage of Cultural Identity Development

By Gina Zanolini Morrison.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Culture is sustained through the individual’s efforts to recognize it, understand it, value it, and find its place within a multicultural society. Cultural identity development provides a framework for positive change in that it involves examination of one’s own cultural “roots” in order to gain the self awareness that can enrich and clarify an individual’s sense of identity. This clarified identity can serve as an anchor in a multicultural world. Building upon knowledge of self, each individual becomes empowered to move toward social action with knowledge of the cultural forces (and the previously unexamined biases) that have shaped personal identity.

In these times of worldwide upheaval and change, sustainability of culture is a challenge. To promote sustainability, cultural identity development can and must be taught by educational institutions to prepare youth for success in the ever-changing world. This paper offers specific strategies that educators can use in the classroom to enhance self-understanding and assist their students’ identity development. The author’s experience as a teacher and teacher-trainer in the United States is drawn upon to offer examples of challenges, pitfalls, and workable solutions involved in that process.

Keywords: Cultural Sustainability, Cultural Identity Development, Immersion

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.85-92. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 550.248KB).

Dr. Gina Zanolini Morrison

Assistant Professor, Education Department, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA

Gina Zanolini Morrison, PhD, Assistant Professor of Education at Wilkes University, has over twenty years of work in the field of multicultural education in the United States. At Wilkes, she prepares pre-service teaching for careers in education by teaching courses in English as a Second Language, classroom management, and multicultural education. Her research focuses on cultural identity development as a positive and necessary component of effective education. She resides in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania, with her eight year old daughter Victoria and husband William Morrison, a native of Malaysia.

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