Writing Home: Coping with Migration (LS-GR-69)

Context

The present Learning scenario is organized around a text named «Δύο γράμματα της Χαράς»(“Two Letters by Hara”). It is an excerpt from Thanassis Valtinos’ novel Στοιχεία για τη δεκαετία του ’60 (Elements from the ‘60s), included in the school Literature textbook for the 8thgrade in Greece. The text is about 2 fictitious letters written by a Greek immigrant in Johannesburg, South Africa, to her siblings who lived in Athens in the 1960s. The main objective of the LS is to familiarize students with the phenomenon of immigration. The lesson aims to have them reflect on the difficulties immigrants deal with and have them realise that human migration has a long history.

Activities

First, students researched the terms of immigration and Greek diaspora. Why? In order to learn more about the presence of Greeks in many countries around the world. They also reflected on the possible reasons that might lead one to expatriate. Then, they read the literary text by Valtinos. They discussed the difficulties faced by the leading character in a foreign country as well as the different ways the other characters cope with their resettlement.
Since the text is in the form of letters addressed to home, students realised the importance of such communication in an era where there was no internet. They also read similar letters from the relevant Europeana gallery.

Then, they read migration stories from the Europeana collections. They looked at the photos of objects with sentimental value for the immigrants. In groups, they attempted to write short narratives inspired by these stories. The stories produced were creative, moving.

And in some cases even included elements from the students’ own family stories, since many of the students had grandparents who were refugees from Asia Minor.

To wrap up, students made a digital immigration museum selecting photos and songs from the Europeana collections and adding them to a special Padlet created for this activity. 

Evaluation

Overall, it took 3 sessions of 2 teaching hours each to complete the implementation of the learning scenario. Students were excited to work in groups and learn about migration. They particularly seemed to enjoy the activity where they had to write a story based on the Europeana gallery photos they had studied. They could give a voice to the depicted objects. There were many moving moments throughout the implementation when students shared stories of their ancestors who were refugees and showed us pictures of objects they brought from their homelands. 

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