Students in Grade 5 at KIS International School in Bangkok, Thailand, learned about migration. They welcomed guest speakers who were able to provide first hand accounts representing different perspectives on migration, including one of KIS’s teachers who was a child refugee from Vietnam, a representative of an NGO working with refugees, a KIS staff member who worked at a refugee camp, and a parent who has helped at an immigration detention centre.
To gain a more in-depth personal understanding, the Grade 5 teachers developed a simulation where the students were unexpectedly locked out of their classrooms one afternoon and told to find a new place to go. But, the available rooms had conditions of entry, such as a requirement to wear glasses, specific language spoken, religion practiced, or height. As a result, students could empathize and reflect on how human migration affects communities, cultures and individuals.
Reflections at the end of the Unit of Inquiry included fictional diary entries of refugees, demonstrating the understanding the students developed. One is featured below.
When night fell, I waited until my dad and the stranger fell asleep; I wanted to be alone and in a quiet place for some time. I looked up at the starry sky, it reminded me of how my mom used to cuddle me in my bedroom. The breeze swept onto my face, and suddenly, I saw my mom with my sister waving at me. I ran to them crying with my arms opened for a hug, but a force pulled me back. My sister and mom were going further away from me when I suddenly woke up to see my dad’s face. I looked around for a sign of mom and sister, but they were nowhere to be seen. The little hope that was in me was drained out immediately. Sadness overcame me and I stood up; we were on land with nothing but wood on the floor. I knew we had arrived.