Refugee Simulation: The Experiential Cycle

Last week, three students in my Global Issues class organized a refugee simulation experience for our school as part of their Take Action Project. Muuxi Adam, a Somalian refugee and founding member of HumanKind International, had inspired them at a visit he made in January.

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Muuxi Adam from HumanKind International sharing his personal experience with Grade 12 students.

The students began to make plans to host a refugee simulation to help bring attention to the dire needs of asylum seekers and specifically to the plight of refugees in the largest refugee camp in the world, Dadaab. (See the map below.)

Prior to the experience, however, our class began to research the global refugee crisis from historical and contemporary perspectives and many students chose the crisis as their topic for their major papers and Take Action Projects. In order to prepare and front load for this experience, we also participated in the Glassen Essay Contest which asked: What, if anything, should Canada do about the global refugee crisis?

In doing so, we had created a neural network that would help us properly engage in the primary experience — the simulation.

On April 29th, Muuxi , Grade 12 students, and several volunteers came to campus and designed a refugee experience that would take our learners on a journey that involved fleeing their homeland, a 6 KM march, an ambush by rebels, mind fields, and border crossings. You can see via the images and vines below  to get a sense of what the experience was like.

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Students grabbing what they can to flee their homelands

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Students walking to the next safe place

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Rebels rob the refugees

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Land minds!

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More walking

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The border is up a head.

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Confusion at the border

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Refugees try to fill out paper work in other languages. Families are split apart.

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Reflecting on the experience.

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Muuxi and student organizers debrief with Grade 12 and 9 students.

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The students were then provided time to think and write about their experience and communicate how their research informed the experience. Here is one of the student organizers speaking on CBC about his experience:

The experience was tremendously educative for all of us and it began with the curiosity of a few members of our learning community, priming the pump in terms of creating a pre-existing neural network, designing an exceptional primary experience, and then having the time and space to reflect on our learning. This experience now feeds into greater and deeper educative experiences.

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Kolb’s Cycle of Experience

I would encourage all educators to invite Muuxi and Humankind international to organize a similar experience. It is critical for understanding the plight of our fellow species mates and developing empathy for all forms of life.

 

ISIL: History & The Future

This week, the University of Winnipeg will be hosting what it dubs Middle East Week. Every year, the fourth-ranked undergraduate university in Canada hosts a variety of lectures, debates, and screenings in order to examine critical issues within the Middle East.

This year, the University will be hosting Canadian journalist Gwynne Dyer who speaks Monday night (February 22nd) at 7:00 PM. Dyer will be speaking about the future of ISIL. In anticipation of his appearance, Terry McLeod of CBC Radio interviewed both Dyer and Professor Rory Dixon from the University of Winnipeg on Sunday, February 21st.

ISIL’s emergence and future is complex and takes a great deal of careful research, listening, reflection, and critical thought. As such, let’s delve into how ISIL and the complexity of the Middle East came to be and what potential solutions might exist. For those in Global Issues, this might play well into your research for your major papers and Take Action Projects.

The BBC: Why Border Lines Drawn with a Ruler in WWI still Rock the Middle East

Below this post, share your thoughts on why you think there is such disruption and destruction in the region and how or if it might end.

Al Jazeera: How Can ISIL be Defeated?

Furthermore, what should Canada’s response be? How is this now more than a regional conflict?

Al Jazeera: What Would TE Lawrence do?

Ensure that you use evidence to support your arguments and that when you respond to peers, please be courteous. Please also only use first names.

 

MLTS: Reflection

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Strini Reddy speaks to educators about the Newcomer Youth Education Support Services — the organization supported by the screening of Most Likely to Succeed

On Wednesday, February 3rd, over 200 educators came together at the University of Winnipeg to view the provocative film Most Likely to Succeed. The film challenged whether or not the current educational paradigm meets the needs and challenges of the 21st century.

The film addressed several major themes in terms of learning, teaching, and the purpose of education. From the brief discussion that followed the screening, it is clear that everyone in the room reacted differently to this experience.

Please feel free to reflect on what you thought about the film below. As we do with our more formal learning communities, please ensure that our comments are precise, respectful and not anonymous.

On behalf of St. John’s-Ravenscourt School and the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg, thank you for sharing time and space with us.

Experimental Lakes Area 2016

The 2016 Experimental Lakes Area Student Experience (ELSE) applications are now open. If you are a high school student entering Grade 11 or 12 this fall, check out the application form here. The dates for this year’s experience are July 18th-29th, 2016.

ELSE is a joint project between the IISD and St. John’s-Ravenscourt School. Students from all schools in Manitoba are invited to apply.

Check out this slide show to see what happens at ELSE!

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For more information, contact me at hendem at learners dot sjr dot mb dot ca

Qing Dynasty: Cause & Consequence

chinamap2Over the past few weeks in the History of Modern China, we have been looking at the six historical thinking concepts and how these might lead us to ask powerful questions about history. Here is a sampling of how we used cause and consequence in order to develop research questions and subsequent arguments related to the rise and fall of the Qing dynasty.