How do we help pupils understand the issue of Migration?

Let’s take action to share our ideas on the complex global phenomenon of the movement of people who seek a better life.

Economic Migration

These lessons will help teachers tackle this important but sometimes sensitive subject which can be difficult in a classroom when pupils have varying understanding and experience of the issue.

The activities will help build pupils’ knowledge with a focus on the need for an appreciation of the requirement for the ‘humane treatment and protection for everyone – no one is left behind’ as stated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The unit materials have a focus on ‘people and their experience’ and pupils are able to explore the causes, aims and outcomes of a migration journey.

Areas looked at in the lessons include:

  • The right to decent work
  • A decent standard of living
  • The freedom to learn and live where your talents are best fulfilled

Case studies are used so that pupils can get a feel for the experiences of economic migrants.

Stories from the Irish Famine and its impact on migration are considered along with more recent tales of real life migrants making difficult journeys where they face multiple risks.

In addition, pupils explore stories about modern day slavery and what is meant by ‘decent work’. The unit finishes with an activity to get pupils to think about the power of positive community integration.

Key ideas explored:

Lessons use pupils’ own experience – for example, that of movement and travelling, that of applying for a place in a school, that of feeling welcome (or unwelcome) in a new place.

Pupils are encouraged to consider the values and attitudes they are developing as young people and to empathise with other people’s lives and experiences.

Asylum Seekers

These lessons will help teachers support pupils as they explore the reality of life as a refugee.

The aim of these materials is to provide ideas for teachers to address issues linked to migration and asylum, including the right to a nationality, protection under the Refugee Convention (1951), to be treated with dignity, and to live in safety and security. The Refugee Convention is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which states that people have the right to seek a place of asylum if they are being persecuted in their own country. The lessons are closely linked to many of the 17 SDGs.

Areas looked at in the lessons include:

• Belonging

• Uprooting

• Protection

• Asylum

• Statelessness

Case studies are used so that pupils can get a feel for refugees’ experiences.

Stories from Syria, Eritrea, Nazi Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan and those who have been refugees in the UK are included in these 6 lessons.

Key ideas explored:

The difficult choices faced by families and individuals are examined.

Students are encouraged to understand what is meant by an ‘Asylum Process’ and how individuals need to be protected from danger. They learn about the concept of ‘sanctuary’ and how some schools are designated as schools of sanctuary. The lessons support pupils as they reflect on this very complicated and often upsetting topic.

Download your free Migration teacher’s guides here! 

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