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  • Lesson plan
  • Grades 9-10

Humanizing Immigrant Stories


Debates over U.S. immigration policy, and the xenophobia that often accompanies such debates, are once again center stage. Policy debates are often dominated by statistics and stereotypes, both of which can dehumanize those under examination. This lesson brings the personal stories of migrants back into the debate. As a springboard for discussion, it uses clips from Voices of the Sea, a film about a Cuban family divided on whether or not to emigrate. After researching the history or current situation in a nation from which people have emigrated to the U.S. in large numbers, students will write an imagined dialogue between family members considering whether to make the journey. In the process, they'll consider what motivates people to leave their homes or stay.

About the authors

Faith Rogow

Faith Rogow, Ph.D., is the co-author of The Teacher's Guide to Media Literacy: Critical Thinking in a Multimedia World (Corwin, 2012) and past president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education. She has written discussion guides and lesson plans for more than 250 independent films.