Teaching Critical Thinking Skills to Refugee Students through Science Literacy
Throughout three weeks in March, approximately 50 refugee and internally displaced students located across Kenya and Jordan attended Todd’s RhEAP Science Literacy Course. Todd taught one group of students in-person at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya and another group as a hybrid course, blending an in-person class in Kakuma with a Zoom class for students from the Dadaab Refugee Complex, also in Kenya, and from Jordan.
During the course, students engaged with important questions regarding how individuals make judgments on the validity of scientific claims. They addressed topics revolving around water usage and water quality as it relates to human-generated global climate change. By using real-world examples, hands-on experiments, and recent scientific findings, students were given opportunities to objectively analyze and contextualize scientific findings to help them understand the content of scientific findings and how scientific study is conducted.
Watch a short video about the course made by student Christian Baobab.
Working together across geographical locations and cultures, students participating in Science Literacy gained experience and skills to better address challenges in a way that promotes collaboration, critical thinking, and self growth.
Todd says he is impressed by the number of students who have said they successfully used skills they learned in class to help them apply to college or assist them in their work in the camps. “I think that what’s really worth it: students are not only really engaging with the material but they are able to transfer that material from the classroom into their daily lives. I think that’s a major credit to the students here and to the students…in the RhEAP program. Their passion is just unparalleled," he says.
“My science literacy skills have really changed in the past three weeks. This class has not only changed my literacy skills on science, but also given me insights on how to view my surroundings directly,” says student Alamin Jibrini Tutu. “I have gained observation skills, critical and analytical skills. I can now view one thing but in different perspectives. In the future, I believe these skills will help me in making concrete decisions and making effective conclusions based on evidence.”
The course was offered as part of the STEM module of the broader RhEAP one-year course of study for refugees. Upon completion of the full RhEAP program, students will be strong candidates for applying to BA programs and scholarships both abroad and in their host countries.
A collaboration between BRAC University’s Center for Peace and Justice in Bangladesh, Princeton’s Global History Lab, and Arizona State University, RhEAP is supported by the OSUN Hubs for Connected Learning Initiatives. As the Science Literacy Course demonstrates, the project is simultaneously globally influenced and locally contextualized, featuring universally acknowledged best practices—from student-centered to project-based learning—and locally rooted approaches to address students’ psycho-social and emotional learning needs.
Post Date: 06-07-2022