Teaching and Learning about Migration

Migration, the flow of humanity across the tapestry of human experience, is not merely a backdrop to our collective narrative—it is the very essence of it. It’s the story woven into the DNA of each individual and the bedrock upon which communities and civilizations stand. To understand migration is to hold a mirror to the odyssey of human existence, to comprehend the forces that have propelled us from the cradle of civilization in Southern Africa to every corner of the globe.

The classroom is a microcosm of this grand journey. Teaching about migration is not an elective; it’s a core curriculum for any student endeavoring to make sense of the world. It offers a prism through which we can view the ebb and flow of human history, the confluence of factors that have driven us from our homelands, and the shared experiences that bind us.

The 21st century has its unique migratory patterns, driven by economic inequity and opportunity, geopolitical upheaval, and the existential threat of climate change. With millions on the move, both across borders and within them, the stories of migration are not just historical footnotes but living chapters that continue to unfold. These narratives demand our understanding and empathy—especially when we consider that a staggering number of displaced people are children. Their plight should be a clarion call for an education about migration that is compassionate and comprehensive.

To teach migration is to grapple with the very notions of identity and belonging. It compels us to reflect on how we, as societies, welcome the stranger, how we assimilate and are, in turn, transformed by new arrivals. It’s about more than just understanding the past; it’s about shaping a future where polarization gives way to inclusion.

An that integrates the art, history, literature, and science of migration equips young people to navigate a world in flux with agility and insight. It fosters an appreciation for diverse narratives and prepares them to be architects of a more interconnected and empathetic world. By recognizing the disparities and power imbalances that often accompany migratory experiences, they can advocate for societies that are not merely tolerant but are enriched by their plurality.

At Re-Imagining Migration we believe that to teach about migration is to sow the seeds of democracy itself—a democracy that is vibrant and robust, capable of withstanding the winds of change in a world perpetually in motion.

A postcard with a black and white portrait of Frederick Douglass