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Teaching About the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Secondary

Description

This comprehensive resource explores the conflict in Syria and the resulting refugee crisis.  A range of effective tools have been included to help teachers address challenges in introducing students to this complex international crisis and its many disturbing elements. 

The resource includes a detailed power point presentation, a number of powerful videos, compelling case studies and first-hand accounts and links to an impressive collection of supplementary information.  These components offer great flexibility in how and where (in the curriculum) teachers choose to explore this issue.  Study guides are provided to support student inquiries into the refugee crisis and other issues related to the war in Syria.  The interactive nature of the materials will connect students intellectually and emotional to these events.

Although designed to be taught in real time during the height of the Syrian Refugee Crisis’s impact in Europe, this resource remains an exceptional lesson in modern history, global politics and social justice.   It not only provides powerful and detailed insight into the ongoing refugee crisis around the world but encourages and supports students taking action based on what they have learned.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • analyzing and synthesizing information
  • building consensus
  • effective listening
  • taking action

Strengths

The highly interactive nature of the lessons combined with the quality of tools it offers will help students form a strong connection to this important issue.

The resource includes all of the necessary materials to complete the lessons and offers a substantial amount of supplementary information to support student inquiry.

The resource has a well developed action component.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

These materials are appropriate for use in secondary classrooms and will effectively support outcomes in courses with units dealing with global/world issues, middle eastern & geopolitics, population/human migration, war and social justice.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Genocide Studies 12: Despite international commitments to prohibit genocide, violence targeted against groups of people has continued to challenge global peace and prosperity
        • Human Geography 12: A geographic region can encompass a variety of physical features and/or human interactions
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Geography: A Human Perspective - World Population: Characteristics, Distribution, and Growth
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Peace and Conflict
        • Citizenship and Sustainability:Area of Inquiry: Oppression and Genocide
        • Global Issues
        • Global Issues
  • New Brunswick
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    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Geography 120:A Geographic Perspective on a Current Canadian Issue
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues 120: Geopolitics
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 11
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      • Religious Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Ethics and Philosophy 2101: Contemporary Issues
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • History
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World History 3201: Regional Developments in Post-World War II Africa, Asia, and the Middle East
  • Nova Scotia
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    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Geography: Population
  • Ontario
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    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • History
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World History Since 1900: Global & Regional Interaction: (Open) Globalizing World Issues and Interactions since 1991
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (College Prep.):Changing Societies
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (Univ. Prep.): Social Change and the Quality of Life
  • Prince Edward Island
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    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography of Canada 421A: Canada’s Global Connections
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 521A, Global Studies: Cultural Patterns of the World
        • Geography 531A (World Geography): Cultural Patterns of the Worl
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • What can I do?
        • Geography 621A Global Issues
        • Geography 621A Global Issues : Inquiry- What are the issues?
        • Geography 631A Global Issues: Introduction - What Is a Global Issue
        • Geography 631A Global Issues: What Can I Do?
  • Quebec
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    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cultural Geography: Arab Cultural Area
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Genocide Studies 12: Despite international commitments to prohibit genocide, violence targeted against groups of people has continued to challenge global peace and prosperity
        • Human Geography 12: A geographic region can encompass a variety of physical features and/or human interactions
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society

Themes Addressed

  • Human Rights (3)

    • Refugees and Immigration
    • Social Justice
    • War and Peace

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory

The resource does not support any one solution or political view but focuses on providing information and encouraging students to get involved.  Discussion of the rationale of various refugee policies is limited.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Satisfactory

The resource focuses its attention on the social justice aspects of the war in Syria.  The opportunity to incorporate the economic and environmental aspects at play is obvious and supported somewhat in the supplementary materials provided.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

Students are made well aware of the complex factors at play.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Very Good

A key objective of the resource is to engage students in taking action in aid of the refugees.  Steps are taken to show that students can make a difference and ideas are provided along with information and tools needed for successful implementation.  

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

The activities include numerous opportunities for students to reflect on and respond to what they are learning. The student guides to many of these activities require that students express  in writing their own beliefs and values.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

The many first hand, highly graphic and often emotional insights provided will not only inform students but connect them emotionally to the plight of the refugees.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Poor/Not considered

Not considered

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Satisfactory

Activities are included that place students in the footsteps of the refugees.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

Lessons and materials provided allow students to explore the timeline and circumstances that have lead to the conflict.  While the current situation is described in detail, students are encouraged and empowered to take action towards a better future for the Syrian people.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

The resource format allows students to explore the information provided and reach their own conclusions.  The information is current, factual and accurate.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

This resource will be of primary interest to teachers of social studies.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

The materials provided by the resource support guided inquiry.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory

The diversity of teaching materials & learning activities included will support of a variety of instructional approaches.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good

Simulation activities are included.  However the first-hand accounts of this major crisis and the emphasis on student action provide an especially authentic context for the learning.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good

The study guides that compliment the various learning activities provide a number of different opportunities to assess student learning.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good

Many of the videos provide case studies that do an excellent job informing and connecting viewers to the issues. 

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Very Good

The supplemental material offers an number of tools that will allow interested students to extend their learning about Syria and the refugee crisis beyond what is outlined in the study guides.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.