STEREOTYPESThis workshop will explore the concept of stereotypes and myths. Despite living in the age of information many ‘myths’ and misconceptions about migrants and refugees are taken to be true. We have to be mindful of young minds and how impressionable children are. Many misconceptions arise not out of malice, but of misinformation. 




Prior Learning
Knowledge and understanding of:
The Convention on the Rights of the Child

Ethnicity- belonging to an ethnic group;   a social group that shares a common and distinctive culture, religion, language, or the like

Discrimination -  the practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people.
Stereotype -  An often incorrect assumption made about all of the members of a particular group.
Racism - the belief that some races of people are better than others and the poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race.
Xenophobia -   fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners

Prejudice - an unfair feeling of dislike for a person or group because of race, sex, religion, etc


Common Misconceptions about Refugees

Dangers of Nazi-era xenophobia stalk Europe again



1st Year English > Myself > belonging

1st Year English > Theme: Friendship

  • Key skill: Managing information and thinking

    • Key skill element: Being curious

  • Key skill: Being Creative

    • Key skill element: Imagining/ Exploring ideas and taking action


Learning Outcomes: OL4, R3

  • OL4: Listen actively in order to get the gist of an account or presentation noting its main points and purpose

  • R3: Use a wide range of reading comprehension strategies appropriate to texts, including digital texts: to retrieve information; to link to previous knowledge, follow a process or argument, summarise, link main ideas; to monitor their own understanding; to question, analyse, synthesise and evaluate


  1. Explore the stereotypes

  2. Discuss what it means to be Irish

  3. Listen to common misconceptions experienced by migrants  

  4. Strengthen understanding of global justice and solidarity

3.15 minutes
 6.29 minutes

Introduction: Understanding the reason people use stereotypes is linked to our human instinct to group together. This is an important and necessary tactic when working together to survive and protect oneself as part of a group. While long ago this evolutionary instinct was used to survive, today it can be used simply to establish status in society and gain extra privileges.  This goes on in school just as much as in society. 

Discussion Points: 

What groups exist in school? 

Which groups have privilege? 

Which groups do people want to identify with?

What if you are alone and don't have a group? How does this feel? For some this could be very lonely and fearful especially if they feel threatened by a powerful group. 

Groups are formed through commonalities.  What is used to identify you as the same as us or different? 

Stereotyping  is a common way to differentiate people from your group. Making them an "other" not like the group. 

Write on the board the definition of a stereotype

Stereotype - it allows your brain to make a snap judgment based on immediately visible characteristics such as gender, race, or age. Stereotypes are usually based on prejudice rather than on fact. People use stereotypes to judge and separate others by group. People come to see their own group as "we" and others as "they." Stereotyping can lead to teasing and discriminatory behaviour by one person or group toward another.

A brief description of stereotyping includes:

common stereotypes are based on race, ethnicity, religion, language, customs, appearance, gender, or culture;

denying people rights because of the group they belong to

believing that one's own group is superior; other groups are inferior.

Ways to reduce stereotyping include:

promoting firsthand knowledge through personal experiences,

putting oneself in another's shoes and considering multiple perspectives, and

working toward a meaningful goal with others when all share equal status.

Example: Girls are not as good at maths as boys

Learner Journal: Ask students to go back to their Circles of Me activity in their Learner Journal.

In the Outside the circle record words, assumptions both positive and negative or stereotypes that have been made about them based on their outer ring. 

Discussion: Ask them to share assumptions or stereotypes made about them. Ask them to determine the positive and negative associations  with these assumptions or stereotypes.  Discuss the assumptions the young people deal with in the videos and how it impacts on their lives. Ask young people what they think is the purpose of stereotyping refugees and migrants. 

Minahil - "Some people think I am forced to wear the headscarf."  How does that make Minahil feel?

Natasha - "It is hurtful that just because of the colour of my skin people put me under a certain category. They think that someone who has come from Africa, they think of poverty, they think of lack of education." Why do people make this assumption? 

Now discuss this conversation in the context of refugees and migrants and why feeling "Irish" might be important to them. 

Ask young people why refugees and migrants might be "othered" made to feel like they are not Irish or part of the group?

Tip: Be mindful of children in the classroom from other cultures or backgrounds. Ask them if they have experience of myths or stereotyping that may have been hurtful, funny or wrong.  

Tip: Be mindful of the fact that some children may express opinions that they have heard elsewhere, particularly from home. The aim of the activity is to challenge children’s opinions and encourage them to see migrants and refugees in a positive light. 

Extension *if appropriate in your classroom*: What are common stereotypes and assumptions made about refugees and migrants discuss examples below:

REFUGEES ARE TERRORISTS - Refugees are not terrorists they are people who fled terrorists.

REFUGEES GET MORE MONEY FROM THE STATE THAN IRISH PEOPLE - Wrong. Everybody is checked to see what they will receive for benefits based on the welfare guidelines. Refugees do not get more assistance than Irish people and vice versa. Everyone has to meet the same qualifications and expected to follow the participation requirements to receive their benefits.

MIGRANTS DON’T WANT TO LEARN ENGLISH - Wrong. The vast majority of people who have come to this country want to learn English. They know it’s essential to learn our language to survive in this country. Also it is hard to learn a new language but they need to if they want to make friends, understand people and also to have a job.

ASYLUM SEEKERS ARE A BURDEN ON IRELAND WE CANT AFFORD TO HAVE THEM COME - No one chose to be a refugee needing to seek asylum. The world signed up to a promise (1951 Refugee Convention) to protect people from war, conflict, or harm because of who you are.  Some Refugees have suffered catastrophic events and torture in their life that has forced them to give up everything. Irish people have the same protection offered to them. 

Homework: Read Irish Times article Dangers of Nazi-era xenophobia stalk Europe again. Ask students to write a reflection on the article, specifically addressing ways to prevent this from happening in Ireland. 


In support of the campaign, children tweet, post or display a pictures of.


Refugees are not terrorists. They are the people who fled terrorists.


Stage 2



Share with the children the poster on Convention of the Rights of the Child. Ask them to determine which rights are significant to the topic they have been discussing. 

Article 3 (Best interests) All adults should do what is best for you. When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children.

Article 4 (Protection of rights) The government has a responsibility to make sure your rights are protected. They must help your family protect your rights and create an environment where you can grow learn and reach your potential. 

Article 6 (Survival) You have the right to be alive. Governments should ensure that children survive and develop healthily.

Article 7 (Nationality) You have the right to a nationality (to belong to a country). You also have the right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by your parents.


Article 10 (Family reunification): If you live in a different country than your parents you have the right to be together in the same place. 

Article 22 (Refugee children): You have the right to special protection and help if you are refugees (if you have been forced to leave your home and live in another country), as well as all the rights in the Convention.

Article 29 (Goals of education): Your education should help you use and develop your talents and abilities to the fullest. It should also help you to respect others, human rights and you own and other cultures. It should also help you learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people. 

Article 30 (Children of minorities/indigenous groups): Minority or indigenous children have the right to learn about and practice their own culture, language and religion. The right to practice one’s own culture, language and religion applies to everyone; the Convention here highlights this right in instances where the practices are not shared by the majority of people in the country.


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