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Words summarising Crisis Classroom Methodology
Crisis Classroom philosophy

The Crisis Classroom Methodology

The Crisis Classroom methodology approaches learning as a patchwork rather than a ladder. The formal education we are familiar with in schools expects learners to show up for every lesson and learn the next piece of information in the sequence, which all leads towards a pre-decided outcome. Refugees may not be able to access learning in this way for various reasons:

  • they may be on the move
  • they are busy setting up new lives in host countries
  • they are experiencing the emotional distress of separation from loved ones, loneliness or trauma.

A patchwork of stand-alone activities enables learners to collect skills, knowledge and understanding as they go through their journey.

Crisis Classroom lessons require no prior knowledge and each is presented as a stand-alone opportunity to develop new skills and practise language in context. Language acquisition is layered on top of activities rather than included as part of formalised grammar and vocabulary lessons. For example - a cookery lesson will contain all the language needed to prepare a meal.

We build our learning resources in partnership with our students under the rough headings of Eat, Make and Play, so that lessons reflect context and need. For us education is partnership, and we seek to create opportunities where everyone learns together. In this way, when a person finally settles, they have built up a broad range of skills and knowledge that can support them in building their new life. Instead of setting a pre-decided learning outcome for each lesson, we look instead at creating learning experiences that cover three areas:

  • they are psycho-socially protective - which means they are enjoyable and build community
  • they address immediate needs, such as how to shop in the local supermarket
  • they support the transition into future education, training or employment.

Crisis Classroom lessons are designed to set you as a teacher free to be creative with the way you teach, so you can create meaningful and enjoyable experiences for everyone.


What stand-alone activities could you use with refugee learners? Can you suggest ways in which you can help learners ‘take away’ the language they have learned from a stand-alone activity so they can use it in the future?

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This article is from the free online course:

Volunteering with Refugees

Cambridge Assessment English