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Teaching Migration Through Data and Storytelling

Explore how migration can be taught using both visual storytelling and big data sets.

907 enrolled on this course

A female figurine, standing on a map showing Somalia

Teaching Migration Through Data and Storytelling

907 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

Help learners understand where, why, and how migration happens

There have been urgent recent calls for curricula to address issues of migration. Yet 78% of British teachers asked by the Runnymede Trust said they needed more support “to equip them to teach migration more sensitively and effectively.”

On this course, teachers can develop their skills to explain where and why migration happens. You’ll learn how to interpret big data sets, examining migration research through video and learning activities.

You’ll also explore creative methods of storytelling, visual arts, and design to humanise migration stories through arts and empathic learning.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 0 seconds (light instrumental music)

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds <v ->So the migration experience is a human experience.</v> The migration experience, it’s an experience that makes us thrive. We have to move, life is movement. And so when movement stops, life stops. <v ->There’s significant evidence that says</v> that migration is a controversial issue that elicits polarised opinions from people. Schools can be an ideal place to explore and better understand the issues around migration. So in this course, we bring new world class experts in the issue of migration. They’ll talk to you about why migration occurs, and where it occurs. <v ->People come from all over the world,</v> for lots of different reasons. <v ->You know, as humans, if we could not migrate,</v> I’m sure we’d be extinct.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds <v ->First, we need to understand.</v> For us to understand, we need to give it the attention that it deserves. <v ->I mean, one has never been able to stop migration, right?</v> Whatever we do, like however restrictive our policies are, or how open our policies are, people will continue to migrate. <v ->In this course, we’ll also share with you</v> resources that have been trialled and tested in the classroom, that will help you think about how you can teach about migration through a large data set. The resources will helped bring the issues of migration to life for students, and get them to think critically about the world around them.

Skip to 1 minute and 29 seconds <v ->Each data line is a human being.</v> It tells you something about that human being. And when you see all those data lines, all those human beings in the round, you can start to see patterns, and you can start to see differences. Ultimately, it can help us to tell a different story about what migration is for the people who are living it. (peaceful instrumental music)


  • Week 1

    What is migration and why does it happen?

    • Welcome to the course

      In this activity we introduce the course, the educators, and ask you to share your experiences of teaching and learning migration.

    • Introducing the world's largest research project into migration

      Migration between the countries of the Global South accounts for nearly half of all international migration, yet the story of migration has been written by media and researchers in the Global North.

    • Where and why do people move?

      Here, we explore misconceptions of migration and locate where migration occurs most in the world.

    • An introduction to the large data set

      In this activity we introduce you to a data set from the first ever large-scale study into the backgrounds, experiences and aspirations of refugees and migrants entering Italy, Greece, Malta and Turkey in 2015.

    • The importance of storytelling

      In this activity we will consider the importance of storytelling. We will explore how we can use stories to engage students and also how we can empower students to tell their own stories of the data through creating posters.

    • Reflections

      In this activity we will reflect on what we have learnt so far and how we could use this learning in the classroom.

  • Week 2

    How can we teach migration through large data sets in the classroom?

    • Welcome to week 2

      In this activity we welcome you to week 2 and discuss some of the activities that we will be completing during this week.

    • Considering lines of enquiry

      In this activity we will consider different lines of enquiry. We will consider how different lines of enquiry allow students to draw on different mathematics and problem solving skills.

    • The power of a design brief

      In this activity we will consider the outcomes we would want if we were to teach this project in our classrooms. We will use this thinking to create our own design brief.

    • Increasing engagement

      In this activity we will consider different strategies that we can use to help engage the students in learning through the large data set. You will also hear a group of teachers give their thoughts on this topic.

    • Using infographics

      We have found that students love creating infographics and as so much data that students see in the media is displayed in this way, this activity explores how we can use infographics in the classroom.

    • Developing cross-curricular links

      In this activity we will explore how the project can intertwine with other subjects such as dance, drama, art, English or ICT to create a more powerful learning experience.

    • Reflections

      In this activity we will reflect on what we have learnt so far and how we could use this learning in the classroom.

  • Week 3

    How can we support and stretch students using large data sets?

    • Welcome to week 3

      In this activity, we will set the scene for how the content in week three helps us to stretch and support students using a large data set.

    • Supporting students with using a large data set

      In this activity we will think about strategies we can use to support students when using a large data set, including planning sheets and draft posters.

    • Stretching students using a large data set

      In this activity we will explore different strategies for stretching higher attaining students using a large data set. This will include considering differentiated outcomes and the extent of computer usage.

    • Planning your unit of work

      Here we take time to consider how we could use everything we have learnt on this course in our classrooms. We will build upon the design brief we wrote in week two to create an overview scheme of work.

    • Potential challenges with teaching migration through data and storytelling

      In this activity we will explore the potential challenges that teachers may experience when teaching migration through data and storytelling. We will explore how to create a safe space in our classrooms.

    • Reflections

      In this activity we will reflect back on everything we have learnt in this course and think about how we can use it to teach migration in our classrooms.

    • Farewell

      Here we congratulate you for completing the course and think about all the ways we can use this learning going forwards.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Investigate why migration happens
  • Explain where migration happens
  • Explore ways of introducing large data on migration to learners
  • Explore how using infographics will support learners to critically engage with data
  • Explore how you can support students to access a large data set

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for teachers educators who want to know how to teach migration using data and storytelling. It would also appeal to anyone learning from home interested in these issues, or educators and learners interested in critical thinking, data skills, independent investigation, and understanding the reliability of sources.

The resources were designed to be taught with students having access to computers for data analysis of a large data set, but some teachers have adapted the resources to use print outs of subsets of the data.

Please note, this is an unmoderated course. It was created at the beginning of Covid-19 and may only be occasionally updated.

What software or tools do you need?

To take part in this course you will need to know how to use google sheets, or to feel confident to download a google sheet and use excel.

Who will you learn with?

I'm an Assistant Head at a secondary school in London and I am studying for a doctorate in education.
I believe in the importance of developing critical thinking, creativity and empathy in students.

Who developed the course?

SOAS University of London

SOAS, University of London is the only Higher Education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East.


The UKRI GCRF South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub (MIDEQ) unpacks the complex and multi-dimensional relationships between migration and inequality in the context of the Global South.

MIDEQ is funded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)


PositiveNegatives produces comics, animations and other stories about contemporary social and humanitarian issues, including conflict, migration and gender. We support learners to make connections between their own lives and others, by unlocking vital research through storytelling. By collaborating with educators, researchers and artists we co-create free educational activities encouraging critical thinking, creativity and compassion on vital global themes.

Endorsers and supporters

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Buy this course

$89/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 15 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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