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The Refugee Crisis and Human Responsibility

Secondary

Description

This lesson asks students to consider the ethical and legal implications of the global refugee crisis and what those implications mean in terms of our human responsibilities. Through the activities, students explore the global refugee crisis by looking at the legal frameworks for establishing the rights of refugees, gain insights and  from an expert who has dedicated his life to these issues, and analyze a poem Home, by Warsan Shire that helps students make an emotional connection to the crisis.

As detailed in the context section, this crisis affects millions of people, and such staggering numbers may well be impossible for students to imagine. This lesson is designed to help students begin to understand both the breadth of this crisis as well as some of the human beings involved. 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

Students may strengthen those skills related to

  • critical analysis of video and print media
  • formulating and defending a position on an issue

Strengths

The mass movement of peoples is a critical global issue and will become increasingly more challenging as climate change forces people from their homes. The debate over how we should respond to the crisis is having a polarizing effect in many countries. This resource helps to introduce students to the issue by providing critical background information using teaching strategies that will engage the students. 

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The refugee crisis may/should be addressed in those curriculum units that deal with current global challenges, population issues, human rights and social justice, global citizenship, geopolitics, and the UN sustainability goals.

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.

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  • British Columbia
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    • Grade 11
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      • Social Studies
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        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems
    • Grade 12
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      • Social Studies
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        • Human Geography 12: Demographic patterns and population distribution are influenced by physical features and natural resources
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society
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        • Canada in the Contemporary World: Opportunities and Challenges
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        • World Geography: A Human Perspective - World Population: Characteristics, Distribution, and Growth
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        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Peace and Conflict
        • Global Issues
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        • World Issues 120: Geopolitics
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        • Canadian Geography 1202: Global Issues n Canadian Geography
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        • World Geography 3200/3202: Population Distribution and Growth
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        • Challenges in the Global Environment
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        • Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Human Rights in the Global Community
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        • Geography of Canada 11:Global Links
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        • AP Human Geography: Population and Migration Patterns and Processes
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        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic):Changing Populations
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        • Impacts of Change
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        • Spatial Technologies in Action (Univ./College Prep.) Spatial Systems: Interconnections and Interdependence
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        • Challenge and Change in Society (Univ. Prep.) Global Social Challenges
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        • Equity and Social Justice: From Theory to Practice (Univ./College Prep.) Addressing Equity and Social Justice Issues
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        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Human Rights in the Global Community
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        • Geography of Canada 421A: Canada’s Global Connections
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        • Geography 521A, Global Studies: Cultural Patterns of the World
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        • Geography 621A Global Issues : Inquiry- What are the issues?
        • Geography 621A Global Issues: Introduction- What is a global issue?
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        • The Contemporary World: Population
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        • Contemporary World: Population
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        • Social Studies 20: World Issues - Population
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        • Human Geography 12: Demographic patterns and population distribution are influenced by physical features and natural resources
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society

Themes Addressed

  • Governance (1)

    • International Relations
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Refugees and Immigration

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory

The aim of the lesson is to help students understand the scope of the refugee crisis and some of the protections afforded refugees, so that they may better reflect on the legal and ethical implications of the crisis. The lesson argues that the refugee crisis has exposed our failure to respond to the needs of millions of people as well as the failure to effectively address the root causes, the wars and mass violence that have forced refugees from their homes. The lesson also uses poetry to help students make a personal connection to the global refugee crisis.

The lesson recognizes that a divide exists with respect to the responsibility of nations to help refugees and that a segment of the population has concerns about the impact of refugees on host countries but this is left to the teacher to pursue.

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 Good

The resource recognizes the economic and social factors that underlie the push-pull forces at play in driving the refugee movement. Global climate change is expected to add dramatically to the environmental factors responsible for this mass movement of peoples and should be given more prominence in the lesson.

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

The resource has students explore information that is critical to any understanding of the refugee crisis. This includes the difference between refugees and migrants. the legal rights and protections of refugees,  the scope of the refugee crisis, and the ethical and legal implications of the crisis.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Good

The lesson includes the video The Global Refugee Crisis in which the narrator suggest a number of actions students might consider in response to the current crisis.

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 Good

The lesson asks students to consider the moral obligation we have to address this crisis and to explore what this means for those who agree that we have such an obligation.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

One of the activities in the lesson uses poetry to help students make a personal connection to the global refugee crisis. The poem “Home”—by Kenyan-born, Somali-British poet, writer, and educator Warsan Shire—has been widely quoted and read over the last year, as many people feel that it has provided a medium for capturing the intensity of the global refugee crisis, and that it has given a voice to the millions of individuals who are part of it. 

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 Very Good
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 Good

The refugee is a global phenomena but may have local implications. At the local level students are asked to do what they might to welcome refugees to their community and to help with their integration into that community.

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 Very Good

The resource goes back to the post World War 11 period as marking the beginning of the United Nations efforts to set out the rights of refugees.  While it may appear to students that this crisis happened suddenly because it has become more visible in the media, it has been building over years. There has been nearly ongoing war and mass violence in Syria, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur, and South Sudan, to name just a few places. Climate change is expected to dramatically increase the number of environmental migrants and the nations of the world need to plan for increased mass movements of peoples. 

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 larger part of the lesson is aimed at providing students with information intended to increase their understanding of the scope of the refugee crisis and the legal and ethical implications of the crisis. It is somewhat emphatic in arguing that we have failed to respond to the needs of millions of people. This leaves the students with the challenge of finding the 'right" answer in deciding how to address the crisis.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Very Good

The refugee crisis has relevance for a number of subject areas. The wars and mass violence that are in part the cause of the crisis may be addressed within the Social Studies/History curriculum. The responsibilities of nation states to meet the challenges created by this mass migration are issues that may be explored as the subject matter of Political Science, while the response of the individual touches upon course dealing with global citizenship and social justice. Environmental Science may contribute to our understanding of the impact global warming will have on vulnerable populations. 

Approached from a larger context, the refugee crisis touches upon many of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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 Satisfactory

The resource asks students to explore a number of essential questions

  • What is the global refugee crisis? 
  • What moral and legal questions does the refugee crisis raise about our responsibilities to each other as human beings?
  • How can poetry provide an opportunity for reflection and emotional connection to this crisis and the human beings involved?
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 Very Good

The resource includes an effective combination of videos and readings and a variety of teaching strategies including K-W-L Charts, Graffiti Boards, Identity Charts, and 3-2-1 prompts.

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 Satisfactory

One of the activities asks students to create a normal life identity chart at the front of the class. This lists what they agree captures the needs, rights, and protections that allow them to enjoy a normal life. This activity helps them prepare for their exploration of the official legal rights and protections of refugees.

Poetry is then used to help students make a personal connection to the global refugee crisis. The poem “Home”—by Kenyan-born, Somali-British poet, writer, and educator Warsan Shire— provides a medium for capturing the intensity of the global refugee crisis, and  gives a voice to the millions of individuals who are part of it.

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

Students use K-W-L charts, Identity charts, and graffiti boards to share understandings, reactions and perspectives on various topics as they move through the activities.

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 information students enter in the various charts and boards they complete and the class discussions will provide teachers with an insight into and understanding of the student's perspective on the issues addressed. 

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

Several of the activities allow students an opportunity to share their understandings. The creation of a normal identity chart encourages an exchange on what they consider to be the needs, rights, and protections that are essential to a normal life. The sharing of journal entries that emerge from their viewing of videos offers another opportunity as does the small group discussions that following the reading of the poem "Home".

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 Good

The poem "Home" - by Kenyan-born, Somali-British poet, writer, and educator Warsan Shire— gives a voice to the millions of individuals who are part of the global refugee crisis. 

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 Good

The pedagogy used in the resource is based on the principles of structured inquiry learning.

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.