The educational journey

The educational journey

Fri, 28/07/2017 - 12:36

Redacció

Refuge. Over the last two years numerous teaching resources have been developed for children to address the subject of refuge and forced migration. Entities and schools are looking at how to build on them during the next school year.

Over the last two years, organisations have generated numerous resources to work with in classrooms and informal education centres based around the subject of refuge and forced migration. The idea is to generate critical and informed perspectives, allowing people to understand the causes and consequences of a global reality, but which is connected at a local level. Entities and education centres are evaluating the impact of the material and looking at ways to collaborate more as a network. The goal for all involved is the same: to create an educational journey which prompts transformational action.

Refuge was a very relevant theme during the 2016-2017 school year. It was the theme for the public audience with the city’s youth and also led to the creation of the Obrim Fronteres educational support network for refugees. The Entreterres teaching guide was also produced and the awareness campaign ‘Persones que es mouen’ was developed. Looking ahead to September, the city’s education centres now have plenty of classroom materials to work with on the theme. The materials are also highly varied, to the point where experts assert that the challenge is no longer to generate more, but rather to evaluate their impact, strengthen them and promote them.

“I think everything is covered in terms of materials, unless there’s a collective or theme which isn’t being covered much”, notes David Yubraham Sánchez, a specialist in education for social transformation with the entity Metges del Món.

Metges del Món started the ‘Persones que es mouen’ campaign in the spring. In order not to influence aspects already being worked on, the entity avoided centring on the causes of forced displacement and focused on what goes on here. In this sense, the campaign offers a reflection on borders which is very broad. That means the state’s physical borders, as well as other internal or more invisible borders which hamper social harmony and the dignified reception of people arriving, whether in terms of health, rights or gender.

“What worried us was the people who arrived and were already here”, explains Sánchez. “What we say that it’s not just a matter of ‘welcome refugees’, but rather a series of little things, in terms of services and residency, which in the end mean you’re received with dignity or not. From how you’re treated by your neighbours to how you’re treated when you to enrol your child at school”.

‘Persones que es mouen’ coincides with a number of other educational resources in that it’s a free download and has activities with the underlying aim of mobilising people. As with Entreterres, an educational guide on migration in the Mediterranean developed by EduXarxa at the request of the International Civil Service (SCI) and the Stop Mare Mortum platform, the key question on the educational journey is “What can I do?”.

Entreterres, which has been available online since November 2016, came about due to the demand at informal education centres and the Barcelona Youth Council and the Catalan National Youth Council. The two councils have helped fund the guide with collaboration from the Catalan scouts and guides movement, the Catalan Cooperation and Development Fund and the City Council.

“The subject of refuge came up a lot on the news and people thought about what they could do about it. The aim of the guide is for everyone to be able to have critical tools to understand what’s going on, analyse the news properly and more than anything see what you can do from home, without  believing you have to go away to do something to change the situation”, explains Júlia Granell, a project specialist with SCI.

The guide is divided into five man subject blocks (Mare Mortum, Human Rights, Racism, Gender and LGBTI and Social Transformation). Each section offers activities by age groups (from 9 to 12 years old, from 13 to 18 and from 17 upwards) and concludes with a call for reflection, creation and action.

Sharing

The SCI and Stop Mare Mortum are working within the context of Lafede.cat to share the work carried out with everyone making educational resources focusing on refuge and migration. The idea is to be able to reach people who are to use them, from teachers to free time monitors.

The Obrim Fronteres educational network is doing similar work. The network was set up in July 2016 by the Assemblea Groga de Gràcia and the social platform Barri Obert, with the support of EduAlter, and acts as a place for sharing experiences and materials.  In September the idea is to open up spaces for reflection, to evaluate how refuge is dealt with in the classroom and which resources are of most interest. The platform also wants to promote joint work between education centres and entities within a district framework, something which is being done more in Nou Barris, Sarrià, Gràcia and Sants.

There are plenty of materials, but sometimes there needs to be more contact between schools and entities. The network has that purpose a bit. We haven’t generated materials, but we generate contacts. It’s about getting the materials into schools, so that they can work with them in their own way”, explains Brenda Bär, member of Obrim Fornteres and specialist with the Fundació Jaume Bofill.

Sharing materials and evaluating their effect was also the aim of the meeting ‘Ciutats obertes, educació integradora’ [open cities, integrating education], organised in June by the Asamblea de Cooperación Por la Paz (ACPP) at the Faculty of Law at the University of Barcelona. The event brought together entities, education centres and institutions involved in awareness on the humanitarian crisis of refugees, including Obrim Fornteres and Metges del Món.

Carol Pujadas, a specialist in social intervention with the ACPP, stresses the fact that secondary school students also took part. “We wanted feedback from youngsters, to get their take on the crisis”, she affirms. “In all, the meeting meant we were able to see how we’re doing, if we’re being effective or not. Lots and lots of things have been done and we need to establish some order and organise ourselves”, she adds.

Some of the many conclusions from the meeting identified the need to generate a stronger network between organisations and centres; to work on media coverage and how it affects perceptions; to include action linking to co-responsibility among the reception society, and to work on shared experiences between youngsters and migrants.

Learning services

Organisations are also looking for ways to provide continuity for the projects they have developed and prevent them from underperforming. For instance, the SCI and Stop Mare Mortum are planning training for teachers in the autumn, as well as those organising informal education, to show them how to use Entreterres with their groups.

Metges del Món have opted for a self-learning project (APS) focusing on the rights of migrants and refugees in the city. “We have this material, which is a universe which includes everything. The aim is to generate more of a multiplying effect and for education centres to be able to reflect deeper and design some sort of action”, notes Sánchez.

APS is an educational methodology which is closely linked to the tradition of centres which use single projects combining self-learning with serving the community. Those taking part learn while they work on real needs around them, with the goal of addressing them and improving things.

Bär, who offers advice on this methodology for entities working in the sphere of cooperation and global justice and education centres as part of an agreement between the City Council and the Fundació Jaume Bofill, gives an example by way of clarification: “The blood bank used to run information campaigns to get donors. Now it’s children at primary and secondary schools who organise the campaign, with content to be worked on: the circulation system, blood groups, etc. They learn about it by doing something which is connected”.

“That adds up for cooperation and global justice entities, because what goes on at a general level is connected to here and we’re also partly responsible. For schools, the idea is to overcome occasional activity and work on it by associating it to the curriculum which children are working with. It allows youngsters to be involved, and that’s very motivating”, she explains. “APS projects enable you to get past that paralysing feeling that what’s going on is terrible, and think about what you can do about it”.

To that end, organisations and education centres have developed projects based around gender, the environment, racism and stereotypes. This year, affirms Bär, and also due to the fact that the public audience with the city’s youth also focused on refuge, lots of work has been done on the subject and some interesting projects have come up. Some of those she mentions include ‘Aprenent a mirar, trencant murs invisibles’, by the Fundació Proide and the La Salle schools, and the theatre play La patera, which was worked on by secondary school students and the Institut Les Corts during history and geography classes and was later performed for relatives and other schools. “Youngsters are keen to go further”, she asserts.