Teaching about refugees

Sian Evans
15th February 2017
Refugee, citizenship, lesson, resource, secondary, middle school, high school

Presentations, lesson plans and activities to help to educate students about the international refugee crisis

Refugees, defined as people who have been forced to leave their country to escape war or persecution, exist in their millions all around the world. While the issue may not have previously been on the radar of the younger generation, its increasingly regular presence in the global media will undoubtedly start to get them thinking and asking questions.

Tackling such a sensitive topic in the classroom can feel a bit daunting. Here we've highlighted some thought-provoking lesson ideas, activities and videos, which offer an insight into the realities of life as a refugee, as well as spark discussion about our wider responsibilities towards them.

Introductory resources

Kick off any study of refugeeism with this assembly-style presentation, exploring the different reasons people are forced to leave their homes. More specifically, this informative lesson introduces learners to the Syrian refugee crisis and its historical context.

For a more student-led approach, encourage your class to investigate the topic independently with this internet research worksheet, guiding pupils to find out more about refugees and the organisations who work with them.

Refugee-themed activities

Get students thinking about how they would feel if they were a refugee using this case study-based lesson, in which groups work through a difficult fictional scenario. Similarly, this drama session uses the true story of Faiza Mohammed as a stimulus for the creation of a thoughtful performance about leaving home.

Or, consider how refugees cope with the transition of moving to a new country with this video and accompanying lesson plan, focusing on the story of one Syrian refugee's relocation to Canada.

Discussion ideas

Following on from an examination of the Syrian refugee crisis, this adaptable writing activity gets your students to articulate their views in a persuasive speech to their local authority figure, using a range of literary devices.

Finally, reflect upon the arguments for and against helping refugees, and evaluate our duty to protect other people’s human rights, with this source-based lesson.

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