Journeys from afar (EALD activity)

Lesson overview

Learning Area:English – Humanities and social sciences 
Age Group:Secondary Lower (13-14) – Secondary Middle (15-16)


Students explore the significance of their own and others’ life journeys. Students appreciate the differences and similarities between migrants’ and refugees’ journeys.


In this lesson students work together to identify obstacles faced by migrants and refugees when arriving in their new country. In discussion they will link their own experiences to journeys of other students. Using prior knowledge and that gained from this lesson, students will construct their own extensions to a migrant/refugee story. This may be sensitive ground for some students. These students may be reluctant to talk about their own experiences but may join in the more general discussions.

These activities are intended for use with intermediate to advanced level EALD students in an intensive English centre but may be adapted to suit any class.


Download: Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Migrants [DOC] and Student journeys [JPG]

  1. In small groups or pairs, ask students to share with one another their personal journeys, feelings and experiences of coming to a new country.
  2. As a class, read Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Migrants and discuss:
    • Who is an asylum seeker?
    • Who is a refugee?
    • Who is a migrant?
    • Who is an illegal immigrant?
  3. As a class, discuss reasons migrants and refugees come to Australia.
  4. Distribute copies of Student Journeys. Label separate roads with reasons.
    • Discuss challenges/issues faced by both groups when they come to Australia. Label common road with challenges/issues.
    • As a class discuss hopes and aspirations of migrants and refugees for the future. Record them on the map of Australia.

Download the five interviews. Divide the class into groups of three. Copy sufficient interviews for one for each group. (Some interviews may be duplicated.)

Ask each group to read their interview and work together to come up with an appropriate continuation of the interviewed student’s journey. This may be based on the hopes and aspirations of the interviewed student or on another possible scenario suggested by the group.

Conference with the teacher, edit and publish the ‘new’ interviews.