It consists of a series of photos of refugee high school students relocated in Boise, Idaho. Depending on the ages of your students, the article itself might be a little beyond your students, but the captions for each photo were what interested me most. There is something powerful about viewing a picture of seemingly ordinary teens alongside their stories that are anything but ordinary.
What is the value of sharing our stories?
How does the process of refugee relocation work?
Why are there refugees?
What is the difference between a refugee and a migrant?
What challenges do refugees face, even after they are settled in a new, safe home?
For our students, the topic of refugees may be fraught with misunderstanding, emotion, or even unawareness. Between misinformation in the media and its inherently violent/disturbing nature, teachers sometimes hesitate to breach the subject with younger students in particular.
But of course, these are the very reasons to do so; how can we expect students to grow to become empathetic and active global citizens if they are shielded from some of the world’s most pressing issues?
That said, we should take care to curate the resources we share to keep them as age-appropriate and objective as possible. Below are 5 resources to help prompt discussion and awareness about refugees among our young learners.
A story told in the words of a 10 year old refugee.
Share news snapshots
When you come across photojournalism that is age appropriate, seize the opportunity to share it with your students. For instance, this series of portraits of Syrian refugee children also includes their experiences in their words–perfect to open up the conversation and help students relate to these children across the globe.
In addition to highlighting ongoing action groups are taking to help refugees, these groups might also inspire students to consider possible steps they can take to be part of the solution.
Share educational videos that work to dispel myth from fact on the issue
No one video is going to provide all the answers or approach all the nuances of the debates surrounding such a complex issue, but it can be a helpful place to start as students research and discuss these issues themselves.
Also check out: Video of picture book, “The Enemy, A Book about Peace.” Again, this does not center on refugees specifically, but it may serve to help students start thinking about how hate and stereotyping might perpetuate violence and misconceptions.