Europeans were migrants too!

Of course Europeans often still ARE migrants, but this blogpost is about a period in the past. Let me introduce you to the Historiana narrative European Migration to the USA. The narrative focuses on migration to the USA from Europe between the years 1845-1945. It has sections about:

  • The variety of reasons for deciding to become a migrant from Europe to the USA. The different experiences of the voyage to the USA from leaving home to arriving at the docks in New York or another US port.
  • How European emigrants left their birth continent behind and became immigrants to the USA.
  • Using some photo portraits taken of people as they arrive in the USA to connect with the humans who were part of this big story.
  • Where people went, what they did, and how they were treated in the USA

As a teacher you might want to read this narrative to improve your own knowledge. By reading it you can gain knowledge that you can use in discussions with pupils when, for example:

  • Teaching about other migration moments that are part of your curriculum. You can make comparisons.
  • Students talk about migration today. You can use examples of how Europeans had similar migrant experiences in a different time and place.
  • To introduce wider perspectives to your teaching if you teach the topic of the USA in this period.

Some teachers will want to use this narrative with their students and this blog post now suggests two different ways that you can do this.

1) Using the text from the narrative with your students and giving them short activities so that they can think about what they are reading.

You can either use the text online or you can copy the text of the narrative for students to use in sections offline. You can translate the text to use in other languages.

Here is a short and practical Teacher Guide that is designed to help you to plan the learning for your students using the narrative. Most of the Teacher Guide gives ideas and explanation about how to help students to work with each section. It suggests what students will learn and describes the each
activity step-by-step.

Accompanying the Teacher Guide is a Resources PowerPoint. This is where you will find the additional resources to use with each activity that are introduced in the Teacher Guide itself.

  • Teacher-led discussion using statistical data as evidence.
  • Sorting images of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors for migration using the narrative.
  • Using maps to get a better understanding of the geography of European migration.
  • Producing a leaflet travel guide using evidence.
  • Adding the historical context to a storyboard.
  • Using photos as evidence in context.

The activities can be used individually if you are only using one or two sections of the narrative with students. However, there is a plenary activity that asks students to curate the contents of a small gallery space. This can be used if you are working with the whole narrative.

2) Students independently working with the narrative and Historiana e-activities

For students able to work more independently you will find e-learning activities that help them to learn using the narrative. These are:

  • Introduction
  • The Reasons for Emigration 1845-1945
  • The Voyage to a New Life in America
  • European Emigrants become American Immigrants
  • How were they received and where did they go in the USA?

If you are able to use online resources in class, then these can also be incorporated into your lessons.

We hope that working with this narrative, that was written by Bob Stradling, will enable students to gain wider and deeper knowledge of the sensitive and often controversial topic of migration.