CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Who Should Help Refugees?

History, Social Studies, Business Studies
2 to 3 lessons
To explore the role of the government and private citizens and groups in supporting the refugees
Students will role-play a community meeting where they decide on the role they think their community should have in helping Vietnamese refugees.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Have students work in small groups to develop their own definitions of the terms 'government' and 'private sector.' Students can share their definitions before the class establishes a mutually agreeable definition for each term.

With the definitions in mind, ask students to brainstorm what types of responsibilities each group has in Canada and in the world.

Outline the Opportunity

Divide the class into groups. Direct students to the topic Boat People: A Refugee Crisis on the CBC Digital Archives website and ask them to review the clips 'Refuge for the unwanted,' 'The one-man board of immigration,' 'Sponsoring refugees: Canadians reach out,' and 'Welcome to Canada,' including the information in the "Did You Know" sections. Using an organizational tool of their choice, students will list the contributions of government and the contributions of the private sector in response to Vietnamese refugees.

Tell students that they are going to role-play a community meeting in which they decide on the role their community should have in helping these refugees. Using the information gathered, each group will prepare brief remarks to share at the meeting.

Revisit and Reflect

Gather the groups for the community meeting. Each group will share its remarks about whether, and how, the community should help Vietnamese refugees. From the initial remarks, students can extend their discussion in role as a community member at the time. Students might consider the financial cost to their community, the financial cost to the government, the moral obligation of the community and of the government, their opinion of where government money should be spent, and so on.


Students can formally debate the following resolution: Be it resolved that, in response to the crisis of the boat people, Canada should have spent its money for internal issues rather than on immigrants.

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