China From the Inside

Power and the People
Women of the Country
Shifting Nature
Freedom and Justice
Interactive Map
China-U.S. Quiz
About the Series
Behind the Scenes
For Educators
- Overview
- Globalization Lesson
- Environment Lesson
- Resources

Man writing on chalkboard

For Educators

Lesson Plan 1: Globalization

In this Role Playing Debate classroom activity, students will gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of globalization by taking on the roles of people to debate the issues of globalization after watching a film clip from China from the Inside.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
1). Develop critical thinking skills by working in the classroom community to investigate the facets of globalization and to pose solutions
2). Practice verbal and written communication skills
3). Gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of globalization and its impact on individuals in China and the US

Class: (discipline, grade ranges): World History, Grade 10; Economics, Grade 12; post-secondary economics, China studies, modern history, and political science classes.

Subject Matter:
This selection from China from the Inside may be used for enrichment lesson plans in economics, in modern world history, and in cultural studies.

Time: Two class periods
Class 1. Introduce Globalization through screening of film clips. Divide class into debate teams
Class 2. Debate

Materials: (Handouts included, see below)

Streaming of Episode 2. Young factory workers (43:00-51:31)
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China is a crucial area of study on issues of globalization and the world economy in the Twenty-first century. The tremendous changes taking place in China today will have an impact on the economic and political developments of the entire world. China from the Inside allows us to view the macro-economic issues, the policies that are driving Chinese development, and the micro-level, the impact on the villages and individual families. The migrations, from rural to urban centers, are familiar from the industrial revolutions in Europe and the US and are happening on a global scale today, even in the large immigration flow from Latin America to the US. Some developments in China are the result of ancient traditions; some are the result of current government policies; but many are the result of massive global forces that are beyond China's borders.

By examining developments in China as well as its impact on the US (through trade, immigration, etc.), students will achieve a greater understanding of issues of globalization and the economy.

Essential Questions:
How does the world economy impact development and social relations in China?
How does development of China's economy impact the U.S.?

1. Introduce Globalization

2. Screen film clip for students to see scenes inside a Chinese factory and hear interviews with young workers.

Episode 2: Women of the Country 43:00-51:31
NOTE: timing is approximate and based on the home video version.

3. Review List of Discipline-Based Vocabulary and Concepts.

4. Facilitate classroom discussion beginning with the Essential Questions.

Assign reading from the list of Articles on Globalization(optional).

5. Debate:

  • Divide class into six debate teams.
  • Assign one role to each team.
  • Handout one Globalization Role Sheet per team.
  • Give each team class time to develop their argument, consider the counter-arguments, and their defense.
  • Invite two teams up to debate. (Team 1 & 2, Team 3 & 4, or Team 5 & 6)
  • Each team has 5-10 minutes to introduce their argument. Then, 3-5 minutes for a rebuttal. And, 3-5 minutes for a closing argument incorporating a proposed solution to satisfy the conflicting wants/needs.

6. Peer-led Assessment:

Students watching the debate will take notes on each team's arguments, noting content and soundness of arguments. (See Peer-Led Assessment Tool)

  • After the debate, the class will be allowed to ask the teams questions. They may also make their own observations and their own argument for one position or another.
  • Each observing student will complete the Peer-Led Assessment Tool for evaluation.
  • The class will vote for which solution they think would be best to resolve the problem.
  • Both teams will explain to the class how they felt in playing their roles and the outcome of the vote.

7. Class Reflection Questions:

  • What connection do we as Americans have to how developing countries can or cannot control their pollution?
  • What culpability do you have, as a consumer in America, to global pollution?
  • What changes can you make in your buying – of shoes, clothes, food – or habits?
  • Most of the young factory workers serving as cheap labor are young women. Why do you think that is?

8. Classroom Extensions:

  • Have students take the China-US Quiz to test their knowledge and challenge misconceptions about the U.S. and China. Follow with a classroom discussion.

  • Have students identify the benefits and challenges the young women in the film clip express about their new lives working in the factory. Follow with a visit to the Gallery of Women Activists to read the profile on Xie Lihua, "Advocate for rural women" to learn more about the issues many of these young women are facing. Follow with a classroom discussion.

Author credits:

Lesson Plan writer, Rick Ayers is a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley and adjunct professor of Curriculum and Instruction at University of San Francisco. A teacher for eleven years in English and History at Berkeley High School, Ayers is a co-founder of Communication Arts and Sciences small school. He is co-author of Great Books for High School Kids: A Teacher's Guide to Books That Can Change Teens' Lives (2004) and author of Studs Terkel's Working, a Teaching Guide (2000).

Researcher, Nina Kung is a teacher of English Language Development (ELD) at Yerba Buena High School in San Jose, California. She has taught ELD, Mandarin, and English for five years in public high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her K-12 teaching credentials include the California Professional Clear Single Subject Teaching Credential in Mandarin with Subject Matter Authorization in English and a Bilingual, Cross-Cultural, Language and Academic Development Certificate. Her M.A. is in English with an emphasis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. As a member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, she works to facilitate global awareness, cross-cultural understanding, and equity. She is also interested in educational reforms.

Editor – Alison Lee Satake, Program Coordinator, Education Network, KQED San Francisco

Supervising Editor – Elaine Shen, Project Manager, Education Network, KQED San Francisco

PDF File Format
These China from the Inside lessons and other materials are available as printer-friendly PDFs (Portable Document Format). To download and view the lesson plans as a PDF, you may first have to get Adobe Acrobat Reader, available for free on Adobe's Web site. The Reader is available for most computer platforms, and once downloaded the lessons may be viewed on-screen as well as printed out. Get Acrobat Reader software (at

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