Migration is a tangled topic and one the majority of the UK population will have an opinion on due to its prominence as a political issue and near constant presence in the media. Pupils will have a variety of opinions depending on your local circumstances. It is important to present pupils with information from a variety of sources and to encourage them to question their understanding.
Migration plays a big part in development. It mostly happens within countries as people move from rural to urban areas but it also occurs between countries when people leave their home country to find work or safety in another country.
One type of migration that can have a significant impact on less economically developed countries (LEDCs) is the movement of refugees. There are 43 million forcibly displaced people around the world. This includes 27.1 million people displaced within their own country and 15.6 million refugees. Four out of five refugees are housed in LEDCs making this a huge development challenge.
There will always be stories in the news involving displaced people that you can tap into as a starting point and there are some excellent teaching resources covering this topic, some of which are recommended below.
The following links and articles provide useful background information to help you teach about migration:
Forced Migration Online: What is forced migration? An overview and explanation of different terms (the FMO website is aimed at researchers rather than teachers, but has a useful set of photo essays, galleries and video clips)
RGS: UK Migration Controversies: a simple guide (PDF) Royal Geographical Society publication exploring a number of controversies relating to migration and its impact on the UK economy
Moving People Changing Places The various articles on this website 'unpack the issues of migration, identity and diversity facing contemporary societies'
Refugees, migrants and conflict on Europe's borderlands (PDF) This document by the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT) provides guidance and links to resources and research on the topic of migration
Our Migration Story: The Making of Britain is an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded collaboration between the Runnymede Trust and academics based at the universities of Cambridge and Manchester. Drawing on the words and research of over 60 historians based in universities and historical institutions – including the National Archives, the Imperial War Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Royal Historical Society – this website presents the often untold stories of the generations of migrants who came to and shaped the British Isles. While this website is primarily designed to support teachers and students studying migration to Britain, its aim is to be a useful resource for anyone interested in Britain’s migration history.
Refugee Week: Educational videos Videos that challenge stereotypes and create empathy for refugees and asylum seekers
Useful resources about migration:
GA: Teaching About Migration Geographical Association CPD resource with four exemplar teaching and learning activities including a good ‘Getting Started’ section
RGS: Changing faces, shaping places Key Stage 3 module on the theme of migration
Moving People Changing Places resources Key Stage 3+ lesson plans and activity ideas
UNHCR: Against All Odds Online game which explores the experience of refugees (includes a teacher's section)
For further teaching resources, browse through the following searches:
Key Stage 2
Key Stage 3
We welcome suggestions for useful articles and teaching resources on the topic of Migration. Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.