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					UH Refugee Workshop                                                                     6th June 2006
Workshop Summary                                                                         Scott Watson


                                     UH Refugee Workshop

                                   Workshop Summary (Draft)

Overview

Attendees from e-CIRCUS partners were all of Herts, Lynne from Sunderland, Sandy from Heriot-
Watt, and Sibylle from Bamburg. Field experts were represented by Katherine Ferdenzi (a clinical
psychologist from Haringey and Enfield NHS Trust), Nora McKenna (The Refugee Council‟s
Education Policy Advisor), and Sophie Wainwright (ICAR‟s Information Officer). Gavin Edwards
(from Hertfordshire CC‟s Adult Care Services) was ill and unable to attend on the day.

Overall, the workshop must be claimed as a success as many interesting points were raised,
discussed, and ultimately agreed upon. All attendees enjoyed the day, and all seemed happy that
they had gotten something out of the day themselves.

The experts all contributed significantly and meaningfully in all phases of the workshop and all
seem to have become very interested in the project – especially in the sense that we seem to be
the only group addressing the issue of integration in such a high-tech and fashionable way.
Everyone is keen to meet again, and to follow the progress of ORIENT.

Structure

The workshop structure became slightly altered from that laid out in the agenda, due to time
constraints. However, the most important aspects of the workshop were all still included in order
to make sure that the event fully exploited. The workshop comprised of the following key sections:

     Introduction to e-CIRCUS – Sarah Woods
     Key Psychological Issues faced by Adolescent Refugees in Europe – Katherine Ferdenzi
     Design Walls – Lynne Hall
     de Bono‟s six hats – Lynne Hall
     Mood boards – Lynne Hall

In addition to this, „Dafur Is Dying‟ and an old version of FearNot! were demonstrated to the
experts at the end of the day in order to show them what is technically possible.

Introduction to e-CIRCUS

The e-CIRCUS project was described to the experts with regards to its history in the VICTEC
project, the main goals, and significant deadlines for the ORIENT evaluations. Finally the
workshop was framed by outlining the challenge of ORIENT: “From Us and You to We”: The
client is to be UK LEAs, aimed at use in schools for children aged 13-14 years, and is focussed
on using technology as an enabler for learning about personal, social, and emotional
education/citizenship – with specific reference to developing integration and friendship strategies
for helping refugee/immigrant children become part of the class.

The brief admitted that ORIENT was in the pre-development stage and could take any shape or
form. It is to be used within the classroom and must be educational, though it can have a „game-
like‟ design.

The two key issues to be discussed in the workshop were outlined as:

     The Content of Scenarios
           o What storylines should be included?
           o What characters need to be developed?
           o What structure should scenarios take?


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UH Refugee Workshop                                                                     6th June 2006
Workshop Summary                                                                         Scott Watson


       Software Design
             o What style of game will ORIENT follow?
             o What type of software will ORIENT be?
             o What interaction mode will be implemented?

Key Psychological Issues Faced by Adolescent Refugees in Europe

Refugee status in the UK now only lasts for 5 years, and humanitarian leave only 3, after which
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time the immigrant must re-apply for refugee status. Unaccompanied children aged less than 18
                                                                 th
years receive refugee status for only 3 years, or until their 18 birthday – whichever comes first.
Again, after this time they must re-apply for full refugee status. Only 9% of 18 year olds who apply
for full refugee status are successful, with the rest returning home or „disappearing‟.

While the number of asylum applications to the UK seems to be dropping in recent years (to
around 40,000 in 2004), the number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum is on the
increase (just over 5000 in 2006). The source of this increase in unknown, though it could be due
to the fact that the adult asylum process has become more stringent – this could lead to families
sending their children to the UK without coming themselves.

There are a number of recurrent distressing themes that refugee children seem to have endured:

       Repression and War
             o Asylum seekers often come from countries in a state of war or societal
                 repression
             o Psychological warfare often targets women and children
             o A breakdown of society and institutions often leads to social control
             o Different forms of repression are encountered – each experience can be different
             o Repression also occurs in the „safe‟ countries through marginalisation, low
                 status, and few rights
             o Racism, xenophobia, and prejudice is often encountered in the „safe‟ country
       Violence
             o Children are often exposed to physical and emotional violence – either personally
                 or against family members
             o All will have heard about violence in their home community
             o All will experience emotional violence
             o All have been forced to seek asylum in Europe – with or without their families
       Scapegoating
             o Refugees are often scape-goated in their home country
             o This often continues even in the „safe‟ country
             o In Europe they become marginalised, are often bullied, and face xenophobia and
                 racism
       Loss
             o Refugee children have often lost their home, family, and friends
             o It is often impossible to track down relatives
             o Many children are sent to Europe unaccompanied
             o Some live in foster care, but many live alone or with other unaccompanied
                 children
             o Some lose their identity and often respond by either becoming very westernised
                 or adopting a very traditional form of their „home‟ culture
             o Parenting quality may drop as parents are still too traumatised by their own
                 experiences


1
  Unaccompanied children are loosely defined as those children who come to the UK with no
relatives or friends. Groups of young siblings who come together are not classed as
unaccompanied.


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UH Refugee Workshop                                                                     6th June 2006
Workshop Summary                                                                         Scott Watson


     Change
          o All refugee children face a transition between cultures
          o New language and cultures can be difficult for some children to adapt to
          o Children‟s education abilities may vary depending how much previous schooling
             they have received
          o Procedures may mean that even once in a „safe‟ country asylum seekers are
             often moved around
     Trauma
          o Not all are traumatised – some will be resilient or even have been protected
          o But traumatic experiences are commonplace
          o Trauma can affect cognitive skills, developmental progress, and can lead to
             PTSD and depression
          o Trauma can interfere with relationships, leaving the refugee withdrawn and
             disconnected

A number of risk factors were also highlighted – Before Flight, during Flight, and during
Resettlement. The last of these is most pertinent for ORIENT and can include:

     Language and cultural barriers
     Uncertainty (over asylum applications)
     Poverty and unemployment (asylum seekers can only claim 70% income support)
     Poor housing and mobility
     Social isolation
     Ongoing hostility
     Family discord.

In order to counter these risks, a number of protections were suggested – parental mental health,
language fluency, good familial relations and social support, and realistic expectations (of the
„safe‟ country). Factors more specific to children are:

     Belonging – having a parent or substitute carer
     Thinking – the ability to reflect on past experiences
     Adaptive problem-solving – the ability to make meaningful choices after so much
      helplessness
     Using natural healing processes – play, dreams, and ritual
     Using community healing processes – sharing stories and being sustained by the
      community

  Design Walls

  The Design Walls is an innovative method for simplifying and clarifying issues in a more
  interactive and light-hearted manner than traditional discussion. It allows that each person can
  contribute as much or as little as they feel. The Design Walls were built up through a number of
  iterations:

     Stage 1: Each attendee wrote a list of potential challenges that face refugee/immigrant
      children on individual sticky-notes and posted them onto a wall.
     Stage 2: This process was repeated for potential improvements that could be made for
      refugee/immigrant children.
     Stage 3: Attendees then chose to examine a particular wall for recurrent themes. Any
      related sticky-notes were stuck together in order to give some form of coherence to the
      themes that emerged. These themes were then presented to the rest of the attendees (i.e.
      the attendees that had organised the other wall).
     Stage 4: The challenges and improvements were linked to each other in order to show how
      each issue can be met.



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         UH Refugee Workshop                                                                       6th June 2006
         Workshop Summary                                                                           Scott Watson


                Stage 5: Finally, each improvement was accepted or rejected based upon the ORIENT
                 remit (e.g. will ORIENT have any impact on the proposed improvement?).




         The montage above gives a general idea of the design wall process. The discussion around the
         walls came to the following conclusions:

         Challenges Wall

                Emotion                  Differences/novelty                           Family pressure/status




Management of       Communication of            Culture              Lack of school     Working + school        Living alone +
   feelings            feelings                                       attendance                                 foster carers



                  Language      School      Physical/          Social       Religion
                                system     appearance          Norms




                                  Feelings of             Bullying
                                   isolation

         Improvements Wall

         ORIENT will not be able to:

                 Obtain more money for families
                 Train teaching staff/increase teacher awareness
                 Change LEA policy and/school admission strategies
                 Organise cultural diversity events
                 Give children access to school uniform grants



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UH Refugee Workshop                                                                   6th June 2006
Workshop Summary                                                                       Scott Watson


     Organise catwalk events to show refugee/immigrant children the current fashions
     Provide pastoral care

ORIENT will be able to:

     Enhance interest in foreign cultures (and even regional UK/German cultures)
     Increase social support to refugee/immigrant children
     Promote the „peer-buddy‟ system
     Promote mentoring and the role of a „strong friend‟
     Challenge stereotypes and myths
     Develop language and communication skills
     Assist in the induction from one culture to another

The colour coding demonstrates which challenges can be met by which improvement. The
challenges and improvements in black are considered to be outside of the ORIENT remit.

de Bono’s 6 hats

In the 6 hat‟s exercise each group member receives a different coloured hat to signify the role
which each person has to take. They are then given a topic to discuss. After a couple of minutes,
the hats are be rotated in order that everybody plays every role.

Group 1
Participants: Katherine, Lynne, Nora, Rafal, Sandy, and Sarah.

     Design
           o    Gender: 2 different applications needed.
           o    Game
                    should be enjoyable and engaging
                    should involve the player making choices
                    should be colourful and attractive
                    should be stylish and fashionable
                    should include lots of information about other cultures
                             in order to generate empathy
                    could promote the „peer buddy‟ system
                    could involve a number of different adventure type scenarios
                    could throw the player into an „alien world‟
                    could model the real world
                             but this might raise bad experiences
                   
            o   The idea of making the player take a variety of perspectives

     Outcome/Goal
           o Drama activities
                  Role-play?
           o Co-operation or individual play
           o Creative games
           o Remove the idea of refugees/immigrants as victims
           o Evoke anger/frustration in the player
                  To empathise with a refugee/immigrant‟s situation

There were some notes from this section that I couldn‟t read/understand – Sarah can you get in
touch, please?!

     Game Ideas



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UH Refugee Workshop                                                                  6th June 2006
Workshop Summary                                                                      Scott Watson


            o   Classroom based – The game should be support curriculum that already exists,
                and should be accompanied by a teacher‟s pack.
            o   Toy Story-esque – Start by showing the differences, but end by highlighting all
                the similarities that cultures share to show that we are all the same
            o   Alien planet – All aspects of the landscape, language, etc are in gibberish that
                makes no sense to the player. Eventually the player can learn. This is meant to
                convey the frustrating nature of being in a foreign culture, and change the
                player‟s perspective on the nature of refugee/immigrants.
            o   Body jumping – the player could take on different perspectives.
            o   The system could ask children questions, and they have to discuss together to
                find the correct answers.
            o   Clear goals are needed for the player to aim for e.g. tokens/money/keys through
                doors. Positive feedback is required when a goal is met.

     Settings/Themes
            o Foods
            o Transport
            o Shops
            o Clothes
            o Party situation
            o Sports
            o School environments

     Evaluation
           o Pre and post tests combined with school demographics
           o Levels, interviews, hot seating (asking the participant to answer questions from a
               perspective other than their own), playing different identities.
           o The system could ask children questions


Group 2
Participants: Kerstin, Megan, Scott, Sophie, Sibylle, and Steve,

     Main issues
           o Problems with generic approach – dealing with many cultures may lead to
               breadth over depth and accuracy. This could lead to stereotypical scenarios.
               Contents of ORIENT must be carefully selected and have a focus.
           o Artificial case study – case studies based on real life experiences can be a
               powerful tool to create ORIENT scenarios.
           o Empathy is just a first step – reconstructing traumatic experiences can
               discourage teenagers. Also integration is not just about „feeling sorry‟ for
               someone, but actually helping them.
           o Empowering refugees – ORIENT should encourage teenagers to learn from
               different cultures.
           o Identity – whilst we aim to educate about different cultures, we must also
               encourage people to keep their own cultural identity.
           o Group interactivity – ORIENT should encourage the users to interact as a group
               (e.g. by prompting discussions).

     Game Ideas
          o Psychologist – the player takes on the role of a psychologist whose task is to
              learn about the problems that refugees face by interviewing them.
          o Task completion – task are set which can only be required once the player has
              combined his own knowledge with that from other cultures. E.g. cooking food.
              This could even be carried over into class time: „now you‟ve learned the recipe,




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UH Refugee Workshop                                                                    6th June 2006
Workshop Summary                                                                        Scott Watson


                let‟s actually make it‟. The idea is to explore the stereotypes and myths of other
                cultures (and even the player‟s own culture).
            o   Fleeing a country – at first ORIENT simulates the player‟s home environment but
                this is soon changed by a disaster of some kind and the player is forced to flee to
                a foreign country. The player then needs to learn a new language, new skills, etc
                in order to adapt and make friends.
            o   A chat of an airplane – the player takes on the role of a passenger on a flight,
                talking with the person next to them. The player‟s role could either be that of a
                UK child returning home, or a refugee coming to the UK. This allows the player to
                take on different perspectives.
            o   Turing test – ORIENT is effectively a Turing machine with which the player talks
                in order to learn more about a given culture.
            o   UK teenager takes on the role of a „peer buddy‟ who has to explain everything to
                their immigrant „buddy‟ who doesn‟t understand much. The buddy can use
                prompts (e.g. „In my country we do XYZ‟) to highlight similarities and differences.
            o   Players should be able to construct certain aspects themselves.
            o   The players need clear goals (e.g. levels to move up) to aim for.

Mood Boards

The Mood Boards session was used in order to design a possible look and feel for ORIENT by
taking influences from contemporary media – in this case magazines and graphic novels aimed at
children in the 13-14 year old age range. It was decided that two interfaces should be designed in
order to account for obvious differences between boys and girls of this age. To address this
difference further, the male attendees designed the Mood Board for boys, while the female
attendees design the Mood Board for girls.

Boys Mood Board




The Mood Board designed for boys (illustrated above) depicts an example of a period of
interaction. The overall mood/style of the game includes sharp, dynamic, angular characters and
animations and is action oriented. The game should be quite dynamic, noisy, and epic in
appearance. Perhaps the player is to take on the role of a super hero!



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UH Refugee Workshop                                                                        6th June 2006
Workshop Summary                                                                            Scott Watson




In the game itself, the player would first be presented with a back-story to a scenario in the form
of a graphic novel. This would also explain to the player what challenges he is about to face.
From here the player is taken to a screen that shows pictures of all the characters that are in the
game (note that some characters may not be playable until they have been „unlocked‟). By rolling
a cursor over a character‟s illustration a further menu is displayed in order to show more detailed
illustrations and features of that character. It may also be possible for players to configure their
chosen character in some way (e.g. how they dress, etc).

Once a character is selected, the game begins with a problem to solve. For pedagogical reasons
this problem should require some knowledge about or input from a member of a different culture.
In completing this section, the character gains abilities/skills that can be used in a more traditional
game. E.g. a more action oriented game in which the player‟s character must act to defend a
refugee/immigrant in some way. A status bar should be present throughout in order to show the
player how well they are doing.

Once the action scenario is completed, players will be rewarded with a progress chart showing
them how well they did (e.g. time take, points scored, etc) before a new back-story is presented,
and the cycle begins again.

By allowing the player‟s character to improve and by using a generic gaming ploy of „locking‟
content, the game becomes and end itself as the player continues to play in order to unlock all
the characters and their abilities.

Girls Mood Board




The Mood Board designed for girls (above) is very much in contrast with that for boys. Overall it is
pink(!), quieter, more static and demure. The characters are to be more rounded and prettier.

The overall theme of the girl‟s game is based around emotional problem solving. The game could
take the look of a generic girl‟s magazine problem pages, with a number of different problems
presented. The player could then attempt to solve these problems, but to do so specific
knowledge will be required.

When a task is completed successfully, it is important that the player is rewarded in some way –
perhaps through interesting animations/movies which are relevant to the problem solved e.g. how
their proposed resolution has worked.



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UH Refugee Workshop                                                                     6th June 2006
Workshop Summary                                                                         Scott Watson




Can someone from this group add to this for me please?!

Conclusions

Much was achieved from this day, and we must be especially grateful for the input from our field
experts. The recurrent and most important themes emerging from the day were that:

     Refugee/immigrants should not be treated as victims – ORIENT is much more about
      helping integration than generating feelings of empathy per se (though the role of empathy
      is acknowledged)
     Refugee/immigrants should be empowered to become part of the community – they do not
      want to dwell on their past
     A „peer-buddy‟ or mentoring system would work well for integration
     We should try to dispel the stereotypes and myths that surround refugees/immigrants –
      perhaps by making children focus on the myths about themselves?
     A group-based activity would be preferred
     ORIENT must take into account gender differences that are prevalent at this age group
     ORIENT must be fun as well as educational
     Drawing attention to similarities, rather than differences, between cultures could be fruitful
      (e.g. each culture has music, drama, cooking, etc)




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