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Community Walks--Bridging Student & Teacher Communities

Community Walks offer an opportunity for educators to develop deeper connections to and understanding of their refugee students.

Photo of Lauren Markham
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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

To better connect with our diverse newcomer student communities, each year for the past five years, Oakland International High School offers “Community Walk” Professional Development for teachers and staff. Designed by parents, students and community leaders, groups of OIHS teachers and staff split into groups to visit various student communities where they are shown important landmarks and cultural centers; meet with community leaders, advocates and/or support people; and meet with families (in either homes or community centers) to discuss families’ questions, concerns and hopes for their students and the school. These professional development sessions educate teachers about students’ backgrounds, challenges, community and cultural assets, and the educational concerns of OIHS diverse newcomer students and families. They also serve to immerse teachers in the home environments of their students, and give students and family members the opportunity to serve as leaders, inverting roles such that our teachers become the students, and our students and families become the teachers.

WHO BENEFITS?

We hold Community Walks in Oakland, California. However, this intervention could be replicated anywhere--from refugee camps to other resettlement locations to Urban refugee settings. Beneficiaries include Refugee students, family members, community leaders, education leaders, school staff.

PROTOTYPE

Talk to communities and community leaders, and have them do a mapping project: what is important for outsiders to understand about their communities? What are their strengths/assets, and what are their challenges as a refugee community? What locations

SKILL SHARE (optional)

We can share our Community Walk model, how it has supported our community, and our planning structure

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

Oakland International High School is a public school in Oakland, California serving 400 immigrant students--28% of whom are refugees.

IS THIS AN IDEA THAT YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION WOULD LIKE TO TAKE FORWARD?

  • Yes, I have implementation capacity and am interested in and able to make this idea real in my community.

3 comments

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Very nice idea Lauren. Per Zhane's comment, I can see the idea we posted on community mapping integrated with your idea, esp. as you mentioned a mapping activity: https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/ideas/the-inventory
It seems from your description that you are thinking more of an "emotional" / "cultural" map but I can see also maybe involving some interesting more active mapping activities.
Let us know if you are interested in discussing further ways to collaborate.

You might at also want to check this idea as I can see how these guides could be developed through the walks and / or used by some of the participants: https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/research/visual-guides

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