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Teaching Immigration in European Schools

Migration has always been an intrinsic part of human societies across the globe. People have been mobile to lead a nomadic life, to explore the planet, to flee persecution and violence, to find work, or to pursue education. Yet, migration is often dealt with as a side-topic in school curricula. This stands in stark contrast to its omnipresence in public debates. This project brings academic knowledge of migration to European classrooms to convey a more comprehensive understanding of migration and hereby foster students’ critical thinking.
National Geographic, 2020-2022

Cooperation Partners

International Migration Institute | Coordinator
Kerstin Brinnich
Kathatrina Natter
Simona Vezzoli
German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)
International Migration Institute (IMI)

Research Questions

Across Europe, classrooms are prime spaces where migration plays out, as students come from different nationalities and cultures. The project Teaching Immigration in European Schools (TIES) aims at a more comprehensive understanding of how migration shapes societies across Europe. It has two specific objectives: (1) to develop guidelines for teaching migration at school in a participatory way through focus group discussions with migration scholars, teachers from European countries, students, migrants, and storytellers; and (2) to design ten 45-min teaching modules covering central aspects of migration across the world, oriented towards students of middle schools. These modules will be made openly accessible, in five different European languages, through a website.

Contribution to International Research

Dissemination of international research to a larger audience and school-aged children.

Research Design and Methods

The project starts with a series of interviews and focus group discussions with teachers and school interventions to collect experiences and best practices on how to mobilise existing academic research as well as pedagogic methods to teach migration in diverse classrooms. Topics to be discussed include educators’ and students’ educational needs and wishes, experiences in teaching migration, challenges encountered by educators when teaching in ethnically and socially diverse classes, insights into successful pedagogic methods to teach societal and political issues at schools, experiences in using storytelling as a potential strategy to foster a deeper understanding of migration, and suggestions for how to structure and design the teaching modules.

After this first assessment, the team members will draft the best practice infosheet and develop the ten teaching modules based on existing research and data and test them in a school setting. A second set of focus group discussions will evaluate the infosheet, the topics of the learning modules and the teaching modules, which will then be reviewed before going online on the project's website. The remaining time resources will focus on outreach and media work.