The following article appears in the blog of the Boulder Center for Interactive Learning at Dawson (BCILD) website (www.bcild.org):
Refugee. This word evokes a multitude of reactions from those who hear it. Aside from any political discussion, this human condition challenges so much of our bedrock convictions in our very basic human needs and expectations: that our children will be safe, fed and educated, that we will have somewhere to live, and that we will have some sort of governmental superstructure protecting our lives. Seeing people bereft of these basic human needs gives grades 6-12 communities an opportunity to teach their students about empathy for others. It is extremely difficult to provide interactive learning moments enabling students to appreciate what this abject situation must be like for displaced people.
At the Boulder Center for Interactive Learning at Dawson (BCILD), we collaborated with Denver University’s Daniels College of Business in introducing middle school students to refugees now living in the United States. The Daniels College of Business runs a collaborative community program in training recent refugee arrivals in the hospitality management field. This resource afforded students a chance to hear the life stories of refugees first hand. In turn, this supported a middle school learning unit on the topic. BCILD produced a documentary film on this interaction.
Our documentary: HERE
An extremely engaging interactive learning experience has been developed by veteran teacher Craig Angus at the Dawson School in Lafayette, CO. Mr. Angus outlines his program in an article in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Independent Teacher magazine. While Mr. Angus’ learning exercise is conducted on a ropes course, it is envisioned that this same exercise could be conducted on cardboard squares or similar ‘bases’ giving students in many schools an opportunity to benefit from this experience.
Mr. Angus’ article in the independent Teacher: HERE
When students have opportunities to involve themselves in the life experiences of others, even to a minute degree, we build empathy as a community. This surely can only benefit our shared existence.
We at BCILD are attempting to provide interactive learning experiences to all students both nationally and internationally. We welcome comments and suggestions.