Background of this stage: Education that intends to change people and open their minds is more than the ability to critically process information, data and facts - as important as this ability is! Education also needs a change of perspective through encounter, which allows oneself to be touched emotionally and to reflect on the experience of this encounter.
Upon completion of this stage, students should:
- not "only" be able to acquire information and factual knowledge on the subject of refuge and migration, but to a certain extent are able to understand (including emotionally) the situation, experiences and wishes of refugees
- have undergone a change of perspective and gained meaningful knowledge.
- Dealing with the experiences and perspectives of refugees.
Encounter with refugees (in a real encounter and/or through testimonies).
Transition from Stage 2
Remind students that last time they researched information, data and facts about refuge and migration. This time it's about discovering the people behind these facts and figures. This is what turns information into meaningful knowledge.
It is particularly recommended that you plan a real encounter with a refugee who lives in your country and can tell of experiences in his/her home country, during the refuge and in his/her new home country. In order to find and prepare such a dialogue partner, you usually need to ask your CHANGE partner for support. JRS has contacts with refugees who are potential dialogue partners and has the necessary experience and competence to prepare the guest for the encounter.
Preparation of your guest
When your CHANGE partner and you selects the possible dialogue partner, please note:
- > The person should be comfortable to speak about his or her experiences (including stressful and hurtful experiences), about loss and grief, hope and wishes, without burdening himself or herself additionally. The person should also be able to handle the fact that students may not always be very sensitive and careful in formulating their questions and comments.
- > The person should have lived in your country for so long that they can talk about (positive and negative) experiences about being accepted and rejected, about participation and exclusion and so on. Of course, a refugee who has only recently arrived in your country can also talk about experiences that are very instructive for the students. However, he will not yet be able to tell you much about what it is like to live in your country.
- > Ideally, the person can talk to the students in your language. Otherwise, a translation is required, which may not convey some of the more subtle nuances of the presentation and may take more time.
The guest needs to know beforehand what the issues will be in the encounter and how this dialogue will take place. In order to give him/her (and all participants) a sense of security, it is highly recommended that the conversation is accompanied and moderated by a person who is familiar with the guest (usually your CHANGE partner or another person working with JRS). Ask the guest (mediated by your CHANGE partner) in advance of the encounter to prepare a stimulus that can be oriented towards the following questions. Of course he/she is completely free to tell only what he/she wishes to.
- > What prompted me to leave my home country?
- > Who and what have I left behind - whom and what do I miss the most?
- > What did I experience during the refuge?
- > What strengthened me on this difficult path?
- > What wishes and ideas did I have with regard to my new home?
- > How was I received in my new home country: what did I remember well, what helped me, what was difficult for me? Are there people who have become particularly important to me?
- > Which encounters have moved and changed me on my way?
- > How do I experience living together with the citizens of my new home today?
- > What is important and valuable for our living together?
- > What can and would I like to contribute to the society in which I now live?
- > What are my hopes or dreams for the future?
- > Is there anything I want to tell the students or anything I want to ask them?
- > What is the most important change that has happened to me in my life?
Preparation of your class
The preparation of your students is best done at the end of the last stage (see Transition from Stage 2 to Stage 3): Explain that the guest will talk about very personal experiences, some of which were difficult and painful. Tell the students that they can of course ask the guest questions (and thereby show their interest), but should do so in a respectful way. They should imagine what it would be like to talk about personal experiences, feelings, hopes and wishes in front of an unknown audience.
Introduction and dialogue
When the guest – accompanied by your CHANGE partner – comes to your class, greet them both briefly. The CHANGE partner should introduce the dialogue partner without anticipating what he/she will say. Ask your guest to give his/her story to the students and ask the students to listen without interruption. After the introduction, students can ask questions and talk to the guest. If, at the end of this, the guest has asked the students a question or told them something they found especially striking, the students should comment on it.
At the end of the encounter, students can briefly say what particularly impressed or
moved them. What do they hope for in their own lives and when it comes to living
together with other people? Your interviewee should have the last word: What does he/she
take out of the conversation himself/herself?
You can use the following step 2/1 and or 2/2 as an alternative to Step 1 if arranging an in-person encounter is not possible. You can also use Step 2/1 and/or 2/2 as a supplement (depending on how much time you have).
When refugees become poets
On the Internet you will find numerous testimonies of refugees - especially poems – that are particularly suitable for addressing emotions and empathy.
Here are two examples:
The slam poet and former refugee JJ Bola:
A 13-year-old Syrian refugee who became a prizewinning poet:
Here you will find information about the poet and also the text of the poem (It may be helpful to provide the text of the poem in printed form as well):
There may also be videos of refugee poems in your own country. This makes it easier for the students to establish a connection to their own country.
Show the students a selected video and ask them to reflect immediately afterwards (Questions → worksheet for students):
- > Which experiences and which wishes are expressed in the poem?
- > What particularly appealed to me and moved me?
- > If I could talk to the poet: What would I ask, what would I want to know more about?
- > If these poets lived with us - which of their experiences, which of their competences could they bring to us, how would they enrich us?
- > If I were forced to leave my current home from one day to another, what would I miss most? What would I hope for from my new home? What would be important for me to be able to live there well?
- > Alternative question for refugees or migrants in class: After I was forced to leave my home: What did I miss most? What do I hope for from my new home? What is important for me to be able to live here well?
After the personal reflection, the students can share ideas on these questions in small groups or in class.
Refugees tell their story
If you do not find it suitable to work with poems, you can also show a video in which a refugee tells his/her story. For example, if you have not used the video with Hiba or the video with Filimon in Stage 1, you can use it here.
Immediately afterwards, ask students to think for themselves about the following questions (Questions → worksheet for students):
- > What different feelings does Hiba/Filimon express?
- > What feelings do I feel when I watch the video?
- > What positive contribution could a refugee like Hiba/Filimon make to our society? What would she/he need to enable her to contribute?
There may also be videos of refugees living in your country who tell their story.
If you choose option 2, you could also have this step accompanied by a CHANGE partner. He/she could, for example, use examples to explain which aspects of these testimonies are also found among refugees in your country.
Invitation to Reflection
Explain the reflection task for this stage (Reflection task → worksheet for
By the next stage, please:
Take a photo of a symbol/object that representes your hope!
Write down three concrete wishes that you have for the people of your new homeland!
Summary and Transition
Ask the students to explain in a few sentences what they have learned in this
stage. After some students have said something about this question, you can summarize it in your
own words (see the goals of the les-son above!).
Then you can explain how the next stage will follow: “The next stage will be about what should guide us if we want justice for refugees, and if we all want to live together in the best ways.”
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