Thinking about the Refugee Experience

Classroom activities

These activities can be used in the classroom to help students explore refugee issues and understand the refugee experience.

The activities are grouped under eight focus areas:

A number of questions are listed for each focus, and then suggested activities and resources are given. Each activity is also categorised according to Williams' Taxonomy. This taxonomy consists of eight skills levels which describe the type of thinking encouraged by the activity.

The first four levels are cognitive in nature and the last four levels are affective in nature. The four cognitive thinking skills are Fluency, Flexibility, Originality and Elaboration and the four affective skills are Risk-Taking, Complexity, Curiosity and Imagination. Students should have the opportunity to engage in activities across the range of thinking skills.

Some activities may not be suitable for particular refugee students. Teachers should be aware of the backgrounds and experiences of their students and select or adapt activities carefully. Students should make the choice about whether to share their experiences with the rest of the class or not.

Some activities have been adapted or taken from the references listed below. Many of these references also contain resource material for use in a range of activities, such as refugee stories and facts and figures.

For more information on these references, see: Languages and Multicultural Education Resource Centre (LMERC)


Not a Matter of Choice (2000)

Minority Rights Group (1998)

Forging new identitiesYoung refugee and minority students tell their stories (Minority Rights Group International, London, Healey, J. (Ed.), 2000)

Refugees and illegal immigrants (Issues in society Volume 128, Spinney Press, Balmain, NSW, Klippel, F., 1984)

Keep talking (Cambridge University Press, McGrath, Dr. H., and Edwards, H., 1999)

Creative kaleidoscope (Horwitz Martin, St Leonards, NSW, 1986)

Photolanguage (Catholic Education Office, Sydney, Rutter, J., 1992)

RefugeesA resource book for 8–13 year olds (Refugee Council, London, Rutter, J.,1991)

Refugees – We left because we had to: An educational book for 14–18 Year Olds (Refugee Council, London, Trist, S., 1998)

Refugees, Australian Issues Collection (McGraw-Hill, Roseville, Wajnryb, R., 1991)

Other voices: A cross-cultural communication workbook (Thomas Nelson, South Melbourne)