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KS3/4 Citizenship: I'm British But... 2 (1989)

2 of 3: A unit of work exploring identity and what it means to be British

Main image of KS3/4 Citizenship: I'm British But... 2 (1989)
Author Gemma Edgcome, St Marylebone School
Key Words Britishness, nationality, immigration, multiculturalism
Show full lesson spec

British Asian youths discuss race, cultural identity and their place in modern British society in this lively collage of interviews set to a Bhangra and Bangla beat.

These lessons use the BFI documentary I'm British But... as a tool for young people to consider what being British means to them. The themes of immigration, colonisation and multiculturalism are raised to give pupils a more meaningful platform from which to explore their own identities. The three lessons should develop students' understanding of how they define themselves and can be used as the basis for students' own short films exploring their identity and ideas about Britishness.

Owing to the sensitive nature of the issues covered, teachers are encouraged to adapt the suggested activities to ensure they are suitable for their audience.

Lesson 2: Cultural Identity - What is my cultural identity?

Lesson Objective

  • Pupils are to consider the different ways in which people identify themselves in Britain today, through an exploration of the immigration history of Britain. Pupils will then construct a definition of their own identity.


Begin by watching a 10 minute segment of the documentary (6 mins to 17 mins - from the disco scene to the discussion of Asian influence in Habitat and Marks and Spensers).

Ask students to work in pairs to identify what is important to the lives of the young Asian people (music, language, faith, fashion/dress). As various pairs share their ideas with the rest of the class, discuss how these factors are all characteristics of culture. Ask pupils if they can generate any more ideas (traditions/customs, art, literature, values, social organisation).


Main Attraction

Pupils should now individually produce a cultural mind map which displays and describes the various characteristics of their own cultural identity; this should not only allow pupils to identify what makes up their cultural identity but also what they consider to be particularly important.

Mind Map Note: The pupil should be identified at the centre of the piece of paper (either by photograph, drawing, name). Different characteristics of their culture should branch out of this image (e.g. music, religion, traditions) then various aspects of this characteristic should be written off the main branch and can be developed further with explanation. Mind Maps should include colour, pictures and symbols in order to encourage creativity. Follow the link on the right hand side of this page for an example.


End Credits

Pupils complete the second identi-kit section of this series of lessons to produce a description of their cultural identity.


External Links

Video Clips
Complete film (28:45)
Downloadable Teaching Resources
Identi-Kit 2

Related Films and TV programmes

Thumbnail image of I'm British But... (1989)I'm British But... (1989)

Read more about this film

See also

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 Citizenship: I'm British But... 1 (1989)KS3/4 Citizenship: I'm British But... 1 (1989)

1 of 3: A unit of work exploring identity and what it means to be British

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 Citizenship: I'm British But... 3 (1989)KS3/4 Citizenship: I'm British But... 3 (1989)

3 of 3: A unit of work exploring identity and what it means to be British

Thumbnail image of Essentially British?: I'm British But... (1989)Essentially British?: I'm British But... (1989)

Material to accompany the BFI Mediatheque 'Essentially British' DVD.