|RSE Lessons on Asylum Seekers: Suggestions for lessons
Exploring and understanding:
Who are asylum seekers?
Why do asylum seekers come to the UK?
What do we mean by ‘refugee’?
Starter: explore what students already know; encourage them to consider where their knowledge comes from. Do they know the difference between an asylum seeker, a refugee and an illegal immigrant?
Next, look at the slide with the selection of headlines on – do they help us to understand what an asylum seeker is? Do they give us reliable information?
Task: matching concept and definition.
Check their answers. Ensure they know that a refugee is one whose request for asylum has been granted.
Task: True or False statements.
Having checked their answers, distribute information sheets/mini-posters around the tables – encourage students to explore the information there. Does it tackle their misconceptions?
Activity: designing posters to go around school, raising awareness about asylum seekers. Refugee Week is in June – some posters will be saved for them.
Plenary: check understanding – self-reflection.
Exploring, reflecting and empathising:
What kinds of situations cause people to seek asylum?
How might we feel in that situation?
Starter: hopefully the students will recognise Mo Farah! Whilst Farah was not really a refugee (his father was a naturalised citizen and had the right to live here – he brought Mo and his two younger sons to live in Britain) he left his native Somalia because it was too dangerous for him to stay there. His lack of English, and his initial lack of friends is typical of the situation for many asylum seekers. Yet, with encouragement and support, he went on to achieve pretty amazing things….
Discussion point: look at the top ten source countries for asylum seekers – do students know what is happening in these places? Why might people need to leave?
Thinking point: why might people flee their home countries?
Allow discussion and suggestion time, then look at the Wordle slide of reasons.
Activity: watch Adelina’s story. http://www.unhcr.org/pages/4b7409436.html
Under ‘Video portraits of refugees and migrants go to clip 2 under English.
Watch the clip – jot down the phrases Adelina uses to describe her emotions.
Plenary activity: Tell me your story. The photographs were taken by refugees - and the bottom 3 were taken by young people, aged 17-18, who have been living in Britain alone. Choose a picture, and write a short story – what might that picture mean to the person who took it? (picture 2 is an infra-red picture of people hidden in a lorry).
Exploring religious and moral reactions towards asylum seekers
Starter: Opinion Game: instructions are on the slide – it should be fast paced, without individuals dragging the pace down. Encourage ‘gut’ responses – then encourage consideration of whether they might have changed their minds.
Having got them all talking (!) introduce the theme of the morality of helping asylum seekers. There are two religious examples – can they think of others? Here are some examples from an interesting article from June 2013.
“Churches in the United States during the 1980s directly violated American immigration law by providing sanctuary to asylum seekers from El Salvador and Guatemala deemed to be illegal immigrants by United States authorities. Numerous churches in the UK have worked with 14 communities to declare their cities - including London, Oxford, Nottingham, Sheffield and Bradford - "cities of sanctuary" for asylum seekers, with similar initiatives being undertaken by churches in Switzerland. Baptcare and the Hotham Mission Asylum Seeker Project, among others, offer similar asylum and sanctuary services in Australia.
Another older, famous example is the Huguenot community in Le Chambon, France, who sheltered Jewish refugees during World War II. In Germany, the Asyl in der Kirche (Asylum in the church) network emerged unofficially in the early 1980s in response to German government attempts to deport Kurdish and Lebanese asylum seekers, despite the unrest that existed in their respective homelands, with individual parishes offering asylum. As more parishes developed church asylum policies and procedures, a formal organisation was established in the early 1990s, around the same time as the right to asylum in Germany became significantly reduced. The movement has continued to grow and expand, with a now European-wide sanctuary movement.”
http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2013/06/07/3777488.htm (this Australian writer is criticising the decision to immediately detain any asylum seeker arriving by boat – the decision was designed to discourage people making dangerous journeys. The writer, Erin Wilson, points out that asylum seekers are by definition in fear of their lives. The only difference the ruling will make is that Australians won’t see them dying……).
Discussion point: encourage a debate about the underlying moral reasons for helping asylum seekers – encourage students to recognise that the religious motivation may look different to the political motivation.
Activity: watch the video clip (its 9 minutes long so you may want to shorten it). What do people do to help? Why might they choose to help? http://www.cityofsanctuary.org/about
Plenary activity: consider what we enjoy that is related to migration – encourage students to think beyond food! If they are struggling….some great lists, courtesy of the Huffington Post! http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/04/immigration-uk-sporting-icons_n_3382870.html
Sigmund Freud, Henry James, Kazuo Ishiguro (Name of the Rose! Best book ever!!), Anish Kapoor (sculptor of the Orbit in the Olympic Park), T S Eliot, Karl Marx, John Barnes (football), Graham Hick (cricket), Greg Rusedski (tennis), Kevin Pieterson (cricket), Owen Hargreaves (football), easyjet, M & S, Tesco, Cobra beer, Selfridge, Ribena, the founder of Acorn computers…. Who merged with Apple to form ARM,