by Verónica Boix Mansilla


What is the Re-imagining Migration framework? 

The Re-imagining Migration Framework offers a research-based, comprehensive and actionable set of principles designed to prepare educators and institutions to respond to the demands of changing demographics associated with human migration flows in the US and beyond. The framework examines five fundamental questions at the core of educational practice:

      1. Who is the child in our charge?

      2. What matters most to learn in a world on the move?

      3. How can we best engage with the topic of migration across the curriculum?

      4. How can we create powerful learning environments?

      5. And, how can prepare our educators best?

Responding to these questions the Re-Imagining Migration framework proposes five re-conceptualizations deemed essential to educate about, for, and through migration. It invites us to recast our idea of the child, and our theories of learning and teaching; to reframe our understanding of human migration; sharpen our views about learning environments and envision new approaches to professional development. In each case, the framework proposes a novel set of principles and practices to support educators in their work. For educators working in schools, museums, libraries and communities interested in preparing immigrant-origin students, their families and peers to participate fully in contemporary societies this framework stands as an invitation to re-frame migration not merely as a pressing challenge but mostly as an opportunity to re-imagine a new approach to education—one destined to benefit all.

Our learning arc for understanding migration responds to the third question, “How can we best engage with the topic of migration across the curriculum?” and is centered on the belief that the goal of teaching about migration is not a matter of simply remembering information. Instead, it entails having the capacity to reason one’s way through and respond to a situation, a media report, a new refugee crisis, feeling oriented enough to advance possible explanations, interpret or contextualize perspectives, and compare present developments with past ones. To engage migration in this way educators will need to deepen their own understanding and continuously explore of key questions about migration and ways to treat this complex topic in accessible ways across disciplines and age groups.

We believe the study of migration raises fundamental questions about our shared human experience: Who are we? Where do we come from? Why do people leave their homes? What is the meaning of borders? Who is responsible for the people who straddle more than one nation? What is my responsibility in constructing welcoming and inclusive societies?

With this new way of understanding migration, we propose the following Learning Arc of questions as foundational to young people’s explorations. We invite educators to use the questions to design learning experiences, interdisciplinary curricula, and academic inquiry following the design. We believe there is lasting educational value in following the entire learning arc while recognizing that educators may choose to concentrate on particular questions or subsections of the arc.

Click here to download our Learning Arc Poster.

Practitioner-expert dialogues on human migration 

With the support of the Spencer Foundation, we hosted “Mapping Human Migration: Setting the Educational Agenda” from April 15-16. We gathered leading migration scholars, learning scientists and practitioners to advance a foundational human migration curricular framework and delineate an action-research agenda to assess its impact.

Today’s migratory flows, we proposed, represent a timely opportunity to re-frame migration across the curriculum as constitutive to human experience and to nurture key cognitive, socio-emotional and civic dispositions for inclusive societies. To give you a sense of the conversations, we prepared this visual essay. Please feel free to discuss ideas you find of interest with your colleagues and students.

Click here to download the visual essay.

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