This module focuses on the theme of migration, the permanent or semi-permanent change of a person's place of residence - or simply, the movement of people from one place to another
Over the past few years, migration has become a hot topic in national and international arenas, and is frequently contested in politics and the media. The process of migration can have a key influence on social, economic and political geographies and this module aims to address some of the issues on a range of scales, both spatial and temporal. It also aims to clarify the differences between groups of migrants and to challenge some of the stereotypes that students may encounter in the media and the home.
The first lesson of the unit, Have I got news for you? begins this process by considering the different ways that migration is reported in the media. Students discuss a range of headlines and challenge the images of migration and migrant groups that are portrayed in different areas of the media. There is then the opportunity for the teacher to select how the lesson proceeds, depending on particular issues that might have arisen within the school's local community. Students can either debate the pros and cons of having an open-border policy on migration, or look at the implications of migration for communities and how community cohesion can be promoted.
The focus of the module then shifts for the next three lessons to consider the different reasons why people might choose - or be forced - to migrate. In lesson two, Moving for money, case studies of economic migration are introduced - first a historic look at the migration of Turks to Germany following the Second World Way, then a focus on recent economic migrations to the UK resulting from the expansion of the European Union. Lesson three, Leaving for lifestyle, considers the movement of British citizens - specifically those of retirement age - out of the UK in search of a better quality of life. The destination of Southern Spain is studied as an example. In lesson four, Is there a choice?, students develop their understanding of what it means to be an asylum seeker - again challenging some prominent misconceptions. They look at the case study of Darfur in The Sudan and investigate the reasons why people are being forced to leave this region.
Lesson five, How has our local area been shaped by migration?, again presents teachers with a choice. There is the opportunity to conduct a piece of local fieldwork to investigate how the local area has been shaped by migration: culturally, socially and economically. Students also consider whether particular groups of people might feel included or excluded by the services and provisions on offer in the local community. If fieldwork is not possible, an alternative, classroom-based approach is suggested in which students use GOAD plans of the local area (or use the example provided) to investigate the same issues.
Finally, the module ends with a focus on the students themselves and patterns of migration that have occurred during their family history. This lesson, Who do you think you are?, enables the class to concentrate on their own contributions to processes of migration, and to consider whether the patterns revealed in their class are representative of those occurring throughout the UK.
Featured image: Nitish Meena @nitishm /Unsplash
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