Vermont Refugees Tell Their Stories

By Mary Ann Zehr — May 22, 2008 1 min read
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The Vermont Folklife Center has created some educational materials intended to help American children learn about and empathize with refugees in their communities. “What does it mean to be a refugee?” and “What kinds of stories can photographs tell?” are a couple of the questions that the educational resources encourage students and teachers to explore.

I can see how the materials would be useful in a school district like Burlington, Vt., where about 90 percent of the district’s 500 English-language learners are refugees. That’s a sizable number in a school system that has 3,700 students altogether. I learned last month that Burlington is a popular location for refugee resettlement when I wrote a story about how some U.S. schools are starting to receive Bhutanese refugees.

The education materials were designed to be used by teachers who take their classes to view an exhibit with photos and stories of refugees hosted through June 14 at the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury, Vt. But some of the photos and stories can also be found online, so it’s not necessary for teachers to physically take their students to the exhibit to take advantage of the ideas for lessons. (I learned about the exhibit over at the Cultural Orientation Resource Center at the Center for Applied Linguistics.)

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.