When Youth Dialogue: A Pedagogic Framework for Changing the Conversation About Migration
Keywords:migration, migrants, refugees, education, dialogue, intercultural
How should educators teach about one of the most complex and pressing issues of our times? This paper presents an empirically-grounded framework to help educators understand the opportunities and challenges of engaging youth around the topic of migration, including migration involving refugees. It stresses the importance of inviting youth to dialogue in ways that involve slowing down, sharing stories, and making connections.
The framework emerged from a design-based research study involving an experimental online learning community and curriculum on the topic of human migration. Posts and comments involving 140 teens from seven countries were closely analyzed using a modified grounded theory approach that incorporated constructivist principles. 14 interviews with participating educators also informed the analysis.
The framework proposes that youth be supported to develop (1) curiosity and engagement about individual migration stories and migration in general, (2) nuanced understanding of the complex and diverse factors that help shape historical and contemporary migration experiences, and (3) critical awareness of their own and others’ perspectives on migration and migrants. A visual representation is provided. Specific examples of student dialogue are unpacked to illustrate the framework, with discussion of the following cognitive and affective challenges: “the Three O’s” of overgeneralization, overconfidence, and othering. The paper argues that youth of all backgrounds need opportunities to learn about migration in ways that allow them to leverage their various experiences and perspectives and engage with one another in meaningful, authentic ways.
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