Positive Personal & Cultural Identity

Positive Personal and Cultural Identity involves the awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the factors that contribute to a healthy sense of oneself; it includes knowledge of one’s family background, heritage(s), language(s), beliefs, and perspectives in a pluralistic society.

People who have a positive personal and cultural identity value their personal and cultural narratives and understand how these shape their identity. They exhibit a sense of self-worth, self-awareness, and positive identity to become confident individuals who take satisfaction in who they are and what they can do. They contribute to their own well-being and to the well-being of their family, community, and society.

Understanding relationships and cultural contexts

Students understand that their relationships and cultural contexts help to shape who they are.  This includes culture in its broadest sense, including how one identifies in terms of ethnicity, nationality, language(s), abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, geographic region, and religious or spiritual beliefs. Students explore who they are in terms of their relationship to others and their relationship to the world (people and place) around them.

Recognizing personal values and choices

Students define who they are by what they value. They understand how what they value has been influenced by their life experiences. They identify how their values help to shape their choices, in all contexts of their lives.

Identifying personal strengths and abilities

Students acknowledge their strengths and abilities, and they intentionally consider these as assets, helping them in all aspects of their lives. Students understand that they are unique and are a part of larger, and often multiple, communities. They explain how they are using their strengths and abilities in their families, their relationships, and their communities.



I am aware of myself as different from others.

I know my name. I am aware of some of my family and/or caregiver relationships.


I am aware of different aspects of myself. I can identity people, places, and things that are important to me.

With some help, I can identify some of my attributes. I can identify objects or images that represent things that are important to me and explain what I like and dislike. I can describe my family, home, and/or community (people and/or place).


I can describe different aspects of my identity.

I can identify my individual characteristics and explain what interests me. I can describe different groups that I belong to.


I have pride in who I am. I understand that I am a part of larger communities.

I can describe and demonstrate pride in my positive qualities, characteristics, and/or skills. I can explain why I make specific choices. I am able to represent aspects of my cultural contexts (such as family, communities, school, peer groups) through words and/or images, and describe some ways that I participate in, or am connected to, a community.


I understand that my identity is influenced by many aspects of my life. I am aware that my values shape my choices and contribute to making me a unique individual.

I understand that my characteristics, qualities, strengths, and challenges make me unique and are an important part of the communities I belong to (including people and places). I understand that what I value influences the choices I make and how I present myself in various contexts (including online). I can explain how I am able to use my strengths to contribute in my home and/or communities.


I can identify how my life experiences have contributed to who I am; I recognize the continuous and evolving nature of my identity.

I can identify ways in which my strengths can help me meet challenges, and how my challenges can be opportunities for growth. I understand that I will continue to develop new skills, abilities, and strengths. I can describe how aspects of my life experiences, family history, background, and where I live (or have lived) have influenced my values and choices. I understand that my learning is continuous, my concept of self and identity will continue to evolve, and my life experiences may lead me to identify with new communities of people and/or place.


The Core Competencies relate to each other and with every aspect of learning.

Connections among Core Competencies

The Core Competencies are interrelated and interdependent. Taken together, the competencies are foundational to every aspect of learning. Positive Personal and Cultural Identity is intertwined with all the other Core Competencies.

Personal and Social

Positive Personal and Cultural Identity is one of the Personal and Social Core Competency’s three interrelated sub-competencies, Personal Awareness and Responsibility, Positive Personal and Cultural Identity, and Social Awareness and Responsibility.

Positive Personal and Cultural Identity overlaps with the other two sub-competencies. For example:

  • Students use their personal awareness to identify their strengths and abilities.
  • Students use their social awareness to understand how their relationships and cultural contexts shape who they are.


Positive Personal and Cultural Identity is closely related to the two Communication sub-competencies, Communicating and Collaborating. For example:

  • As students develop and refine their communication competence, they can increasingly demonstrate pride in who they are.
  • As students collaborate, they become increasingly able to identify how to use their unique strengths and abilities to contribute to a variety of situations.


Positive Personal and Cultural Identity is closely related to the two Thinking sub-competencies, Creative Thinking and Critical and Reflective Thinking. For example:

  • As students generate creative ideas, they strengthen their appreciation of their strengths and abilities and intentionally use them during this process.
  • Students use critical thinking and reflection to explore their personal and cultural narratives and to understand how these narratives help shape their identity.


Connections with areas of learning

Positive Personal and Cultural Identity is embedded within the curricular competencies of the concept-based, competency-driven curriculum. Curricular competencies are focused on the “doing” within the area of learning and include skills, processes, and habits of mind required by the discipline. For example, the Positive Personal and Cultural Identity sub-competency can be seen in the following Big Ideas in English Language Arts:

  • Stories and other texts help us learn about ourselves and our families. (English Language Arts K-1)
  • Stories and other texts connect us to ourselves, our families, and our communities. (English Language Arts 2-3)
  • Exploring stories and other texts helps us understand ourselves and make connections to others and to the world. (English Language Arts 4-9)
  • The exploration of text and story deepens understanding of one’s identity, others, and the world. (English First Peoples Literacy Studies 10; English Studies 12)

Welcome Centre ELL

An English Language Learner creates a video about transitions that have affected his identity.


We Can Be Different

Students identified differences between them and their classmates and created self-portraits.



A student explains how he learned to be persistent and why that trait is important to him.


I Am from the Leeson and Faithful Family

Students write their own “I Am From” poems and then created a mixed media self-portrait that reflected the imagery and information in their poems.


We Are All Related

Students represent their personal interests, abilities, and family relationships on a poster and then discuss what they included and why it was included.


Personal Narrative

A student writes an essay on belonging.


Narrative Essay

A student writes an essay in response to the prompt “How We Know Who We Are”.


Mars Mission

Students present their application for the Mars One project, explaining how they would be suited to the project and how they would deal with issues they would likely face.


Life Is What You Make It

After reading the story “A Boy in the Ditch”, students respond to the prompt, “Life is What You Make It.”


Identity Recipes

Students create “Identity Recipes” to represent who they are.


How Names Were Given

Students compiled the stories behind their names into a class book.


Fulfilling Needs

Students identify their needs and how those needs are met.



A student reflects on the personal experiences that have changed his goals and aspirations.


Artifacts of Who We Are

Students choose artifacts to represent key aspects of their identities.


The Danger of a Single Story: Ted Talk

A student responds to a Ted Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about the danger of a single story.


Artistic Explorations of Identity

Over time, a student develops a body of creative work exploring the theme of identity.


Personality Trees

Students create “personality trees” that represent aspects of their identity.


What is a Family?

Students investigated the question, “What is a family”, and reflected on their own families.