Education for All: Refugee Relocation in Rutland and Local School Contexts

Course Number: EDU 5515 C07
Instructor: Emily Gleason
Location: Castleton Downtown, 3rd Floor Classroom, Rutland
Dates and Times: Mondays, September 18, 2017 - December 11, 2017 (except October 16) from 4:30 - 7:30 pm
Credits: 3 credits
Tuition: $900

Note: Please register online. Purchase order or payment of $900, payable to RRWIB, is due at the time of registration. Please mail check to the Castleton Center for Schools, PO Box 6049, Rutland, VT 05701. If you wish to pay by credit card, please call the Center for Schools at (802) 770-7060.

Course Description

This course will support teachers and other social service practitioners who may work with newly relocated refugee populations in schools or other educational and social environments. Through an exploration of social and cultural frameworks related to teaching diverse student learners, this course aims to help teachers and others “on the front lines” understand where emigrated youth and community members might be coming from in terms of cultural, geographic, religious, linguistic, and economic backgrounds. As an intimate group of learners, we will dive into the issues that students face after living in refugee camps and the ways in which integration into American life might unfold, particularly in educational contexts. The course will also address institutional resources related to employment, housing, language training, education, and medical care.

Through a variety of guest speakers, slide presentations, short films, and other interactive teaching activities related to working with English Language Learners, this course aims to be a hands-on, dynamic exploration of teaching on the front lines to support teachers and others working directly with newly emigrated refugee youth and families. Students in this course will be able to guide particular areas of study as well, depending on their own areas of interest and specific needs. The course will be primarily face-to-face sessions, however, several dates over the course of the semester will be facilitated as online classes.

Course Objectives

* Familiarize participants with refugee issues and needs
* Introduce students to refugee relocation processes and institutional supports in the local region
* Contextualize the Syrian crisis and the plight of globally displaced citizens
* Address the socio-historical landscape of the Middle East in order to begin to better understand the nuances of war, political change, and geographic shifts in the region
* Prepare students to consider multicultural frameworks for teaching culturally diverse learners
* Develop awareness of English Language learners and strategies for teaching students with various linguistic backgrounds
* Introduce socio-cultural contexts for diverse learning environments 
* Understand some of the cultural tools refugee youth will be arriving with (“funds of knowledge”), as well as cultural differences 
* Develop compassion and greater understanding for refugee populations as well as strategies to help integration processes in the Vermont context

Course Expectations

Guiding Principles
This course is premised on the belief that informed citizens must consider a variety of complex social, political, economic, and personal issues in order to engage in responsible dialogue and effective action on educational matters. We define “education” broadly to encompass the formal and informal, the public and private, community and individual, for generations to come. We will work together to consider the range of issues impacting refugees in general as well as incoming youth and families to Rutland schools and community contexts. No matter how you “feel” on the issue of refugee relocation, your work as a student in this course will be marked without bias or discrimination. You are entitled to your opinions. Please preserve the respect and integrity of our mission to learn more about refugee experiences and how we can best support students and family members to integrate into local schools and educational contexts.

Guidelines for Discussions
Because many of the course topics can be deeply personal and controversial, it is critical that we approach the material and discussions with an open-minded and respectful attitude. (Ground rules for respectful discussions will be decided upon collectively.)

For additional course information

Emily Gleason
(802) 468-1466

For additional registration information

Bethany Sprague
(802) 770-7060

Register online now!