Network Teachers Discuss Supporting Displaced Students on World Refugee Day Panel

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“I believe our world longs for empathy, the sort of connections that help us understand each other’s stories. On World Refugee Day, we as teachers must remember that we have a duty to give voice to those that go unheard.”

Néstor Silverio, Enseña Ecuador Participant

Observed annually on June 20, World Refugee Day brings global attention to the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons around the world who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict, and persecution. In a year of unprecedented challenges, the theme of World Refugee Day 2020, Every Action Counts, is a reminder that all of us have a role to play in creating a more inclusive and equitable world in which refugees are recognized as contributing members of society. In that spirit, on June 20, Teach For All , with support from the Chubb Charitable Foundation, hosted the panel discussion “Conversations With Frontline Teachers” as part of the Amplify Now! Virtual Refugee Conference, highlighting some of the key issues in refugee education in countries around the world.

Moderated by Teach For All's Head of Education in Emergencies, Katy Noble, and featuring teachers and alumni from Enseña Ecuador, Teach For Lebanon, Teach First (UK), Enseñá por Argentina, and Teach For Uganda who work with refugee children or who have experienced displacement themselves, the panel illuminated the challenges that exist in refugee education across contexts, and surfaced practices and solutions that have been effective in the panelists’ classrooms. Some of the practical teaching solutions included finding ways to engage students whose mother tongue doesn’t match the language of instruction, understanding the critical role of education to integrate refugee children and families into their host communities, and the importance of developing students’ agency, critical thinking, and self-reflection skills in helping them reclaim the power taken from them by the crisis.

"I do not want to see this generation of the uneducated move to the next. I want children like those I played with at the camps to be able to receive a quality education." 

Oroma Kenneth, Teach For Uganda Fellow

"For me, the ability to connect with other teachers who work in challenging environments was extremely valuable,” said Teach First alumnus James Pledger, who supports students in refugee camps in Greece. “We all shared the same philosophy that giving students a sense of agency is extremely important and tailoring teaching to help support the social and emotional needs of the students is vital.” Souad Abi Ishak, a Teach For Lebanon fellow, agreed: “Sharing my classroom experience with other teachers, learning new techniques and ideas, and having the opportunity to suggest solutions was crucial. Moreover, it was very helpful to share our experience during COVID-19, and how it was important to focus on soft skills rather than academic rigor."

"I'm feeling great because as a migrant I did a little bit for my people and my country,” shared Enseñá por Argentina participant Maritza Ramirez, who recently migrated from Venezuela. “As a [formerly] retired teacher I want to give all that I still have—I want to keep teaching and helping migrants, refugees, and vulnerable children."

More than 160 attendees from 44 countries registered for the event, which Teach For All also streamed live on Facebook. Watch an excerpt of the panel above, and the full session here. Follow Teach For All on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for updates on the global network’s efforts to support refugee, migrant, and displaced students and teachers.