Following up from the honor of being selected in Huffington Posts Top 12 Global Education Blogs of 2014/2015 I have been chosen again in this amazing group and for 2016/2017 will be contributing to Huffington Post’s Education blog once a month. This month we look to answer the following highly controversial question “How do you as teachers support children who are confused or frightened by events going on in their world?” – here is my response:
Recently, there have been large-scale events that have changed the way people see the world around them and I wanted to share my thoughts on these topics without getting political.
As a teacher I strive to create a safe and comfortable learning environment where students are happy to be themselves, take risks and love to learn. As part of this environment and the constantly changing world that we live in, I am thinking hard about how I can better support my students to feel safe, comfortable and confident about large-scale world events.
This month we have experienced a large-scale event that has impacted us all in some way, shape or form. Whilst political and regionally focused, it has potential impacts that are on a global scale. I have seen the fears in student’s eyes when they roll into school asking what is going to happen and how will it impact them. Our job is to comfort, educate and support this as part of their learning journey.
Image source: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Talking-To-Children-About-Tragedies-and-Other-News-Events.aspx
Here are some ideas to support children who are confused or frightened by events going on in their world. When events happen we need to make sure that we:
- Stay positive – Students follow your every move (as a teacher and as a parent). Be very careful about what you say in front of them and how you talk about other people. No matter what you think, you must be a positive role model.
- LISTEN! Listening is the first step to ensuring our students understand that their fears are important. By listening, we show our children that we care. Listen, paraphrase and offer solutions and forward-thinking steps to their questions and concerns.
- Reassure them – they need to know that everything will be OK and that they are safe!
- Include parents in the conversation – Share with parents what you are hearing from their children. Let them know how they can support in class discussions. Be a positive influence on your whole school community!
- Teach tolerance and acceptance – now more than ever, we need to come together and educate our children on how to be tolerant of others and how to accept the way things are. Believe in the best and stay positive!
- Offer hope and empowerment – Give them opportunities to solve problems and help guide them to create solutions that lift themselves up, their classmates up and their community up. Encourage them to make a difference.
- Teach Justice and equality – Teach them about justice and equality and let them know how to positively fight for these rights.
- Teach them how to express opinions and debate with respect.
Think first about your school community and how to support the needs that they have. Every community is different. Don’t jump to conclusions and always stay positive!
I would love to hear your thoughts, see your resources and help you share them with the world. Tweet me @mrkempnz and I will share them out.