Empowering teachers on the frontline

Anyone who has ever entered a classroom will know - teaching is a demanding job. Yet thousands of practitioners around the world defend children’s right to learn against a backdrop of war and violence. Learn more about a new War Child methodology to deliver inclusive professional development for teachers in conflict-affected areas.

A volatile setting

Imagine what teaching in a conflict-affected area or refugee camp is like. Resources are limited, classes overcrowded and the threat of violence is never far away. Seeing their homes and lives uprooted, many children struggle to deal with their experiences. In this setting, the role of a teacher becomes more critical and complex than ever.

New frontiers

War Child is developing a new programme methodology to ensure that teachers get the chance to learn too. The Teacher Professional Development (TPD) methodology focuses on professional development opportunities for teachers within our countries of operation.

“The ultimate goal is that teachers will possess the skills to manage their emotions, engage more positively with children and create a compassionate and enabling environment in the classroom”, says April Coetzee, Lead TPD Researcher at War Child Holland.

This goal is part of a wider organisational commitment to improve the academic, social and emotional capacities of children at the heart of our interventions.

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Providing a chance for teachers to learn too

Photo: War Child

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Improving the academic, social and emotional capacities of children

Photo: War Child

“Like their students, teachers desperately need support too. We must not forget that - when they step into the classroom to teach - they too carry the weight of war in their country.”"
April Coetzee, Lead TPD Researcher at War Child Holland

A multi-faceted approach

War Child’s new methodology consists of three elements. We improve the wellbeing of teachers through psychosocial support, guide them in positive class management and enhance their social and emotional competences.

In a high-stress environment - plagued by uncomfortable events and flashbacks - teachers can feel stress and overwhelmed. We operate workshops to support teachers to develop the skills needed to manage their emotions and stresses - and come to terms with their experiences.

Positive class management

We also work with teachers to build their ability to manage their class effectively - for example, by helping them to develop lesson plans. We dive deeper into the art of communication - and the behaviour of children - so that this can be encouraged in the appropriate way.

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Enable teachers to encourage their students appropriately

Photo: War Child

Enhanced social and emotional skills

Lastly, we work with teachers - in cities torn apart by armed conflict - to grow their social and emotional competencies. In turn, this allows them to better support their pupils, fostering a relationship built on trust.

War Child Country Coaches play a key role in the intervention. Over a period of six months, they provide intensive, ongoing, and specific coaching through observations, reflection, joint planning and in class support. A whole school approach, with all the teachers in the school engaged in the process, will building a shared experience, vision and support network.

Naturally the teacher may initially feel uncomfortable engaging in such a programme but War Child believes, and is supported by research, that a teacher-centric approach is an important factor that contributes to the improved learning of children in conflict settings.

A brighter future

An environment where the teacher can practice their profession with confidence is a place where children can grow into bright, happy adults too.

War Child employs a number of methodologies that ensure our programmes are relevant and backed by extensive evidence. Read more about the ways in which we uphold the quality of our work here.