Empowering Teachers on the Frontline

Teaching is inherently a demanding job, let alone in the midst of violence and armed conflict. Learn about our new methodology to deliver inclusive professional development for teachers in conflict-affected areas.
War Child teacher - empowering education

In areas affected by armed conflict the role of teachers is particularly significant.

Photo: April Coetzee

White board school education War Child programme

As the presence of effective teachers makes a proven contribution to children’s social and emotional learning abilities.

Photo: April Coetzee

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 Core for Teachers 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 Core for Teachers 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.

Teachers in Lebanon - War Child Holland

Core for Teachers focuses on expanding professional development opportunities for teachers.

Photo: April Coetzee

War Child programmes - education teachers

The three key areas are: improved social and emotional competencies; improved psychosocial wellbeing; and enhanced classroom management skills.

Photo: April Coetzee

A multi-faceted approach

“Like their students, teachers desperately need support too”, April adds. “We must not forget that - when they step into the classroom to teach - they too carry the weight of war in their country.”

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.

Psychosocial support

In a high-stress environment - marked by threats and uncomfortable events - 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.

War Child programmes - education teachers

The Core will contribute towards creating a safe and stimulating learning environment for children living with violence and armed conflict.

Photo: April Coetzee

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 - based on available 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.