The impact of the war on education is enormous for both teachers and learners.

Being scattered across the country and abroad, Ukrainian teachers of English demonstrate a high commitment to maintain links with their learners both in Ukraine and outside.

Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times course is an initiative of the British Council to respond to immediate needs of teachers in practical approaches to teaching in challenging times.

Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times course, summer 2023

From August 2022 until July 2023, the British Council has created opportunities for 1,585 displaced teachers of English and those teachers who work with displaced learners to get together and work on strengthen their resilience by enriching their teaching practice with effective strategies and techniques.

With the facilitation of the British Council trainers, the teachers discussed how to create a trauma-sensitive learning environment, manage challenging behaviours and make classrooms safer space for learners.

The British Council aims to continue supporting teachers of English from Ukraine, for updates, please visit the British Council social media pages: 

Course objectives and content

The 30-hour teacher development training course Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times is based on the British Council Language for Resilience course and aims to help teachers identify the inherent teaching and learning difficulties that appear in conflict areas and explore ways in which teachers can support learners.

The training programme allows teachers to engage with the content and personalise it. Course participants can have an opportunity to share their experience with their peers.

Teachers can learn:

  • how to create a trauma-sensitive learning environment
  • how to manage challenging behaviours
  • how to make classrooms a safer space for learners.

International Summer School ‘Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times’, August 2022

From 22 till 25 August 2022 the Warsaw international summer school welcomed 39 externally displaced teachers from Ukraine and 22 English teachers from refugee hosting European countries, who teach externally displaced learners from Ukraine.

English teachers from Ukraine had a fantastic opportunity to share their experience with colleagues from other European countries so that they could learn more about the Ukrainian learners in their classrooms.

Chris Sowton, Cristiana Osan and Liudmyla Klymenko, course trainers, supported teachers at the Summer School.

Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times course, November - December 2022

More than 300 English teachers from 230 schools of 20 oblasts of Ukraine made long and challenging journey to come to Poland to participate in the ‘Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times’ course.

During this three-day course and being in a friendly environment among supportive peers, teachers discussed extremely difficult topics related to internally/externally displaced learners and shared their experience and feelings of teaching in challenging wartime.

Teachers feel that this course is critical for teachers in Ukraine. They learnt how to help themselves and their learners to be resilient to trauma and instability. They also learnt how to create a trauma-sensitive learning environment and manage challenging behaviour, as well as how to make classrooms a safer space for learners in their schools.

Fantastic experienced Ukrainian trainers guided and supported teachers during the course. Chris Sowton, Cristiana Osan and Liudmyla Klymenko, our expert trainers, were a helping hand to Ukrainian trainers during the course.

Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times course, February 2023

From February 2nd to 8th, a record number of participants, over 500 teachers from all over Ukraine, took part in the course. The participating teachers shared with each other their experiences of teaching during wartime, the successes of their students, and personal experiences. They also learned how to create a trauma-sensitive learning environment, mastered new techniques for managing difficult student behavior, and learned how to make the classroom a safer place for students.

Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times course, March 2023

On 14-16 March 2023, the British Council successfully delivered sixth ‘Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times’ course in Kraków, Poland.

This time 226 participants of the course, the teachers of English from all over Ukraine had a chance to meet Leigh Gibson, Director of the British Council in Ukraine, and talk to Vira Rogova, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine. As well as benefit from experience and knowledge sharing and working with amazing British Council trainers and experts.

The main course focus is on creating a trauma-sensitive learning environment, managing challenging behaviours and making classrooms safer space for learners.

Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times course, June 2023

215 English teachers joined the course in Warsaw (1-3 June) and Wrocław (6-8 June).

In Warsaw, the participants had the opportunity to network with guests from the UK who attended the event:

  •  Leigh Gibson (Director of the British Council, Ukraine)
  • Colm McGivern (Director of the British Council, Poland)
  • James Hampson (Director of the UK Region and External Affairs)
  • David Thompson (Head of Political Engagement)
  • Chairs of the British Council's advisory committees in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland - Cathy Redford, Rob Humphreys and Dame Seona Reid

Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times course, July 2023

From 18 to 20 July and from 24 to 26 July in Kraków, the British Council Ukraine hosted the 3rd and 4th sessions of teachers who this year had the opportunity to join the ‘Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times’ course.

This time, 292 teachers from different regions of Ukraine took part in the events. Participants had the opportunity to discuss the ways of teaching in the classroom that time dictates, as well as learn new methods of creating a safe educational space.

The event was attended by our colleagues from the British Council, who were able to take part in the trainings, communicate with the participants, and share their thoughts and ideas about the project:

  • Karolina Kasperska - Head of English Language Programmes in Poland
  • Pilar Aramayo - Head of Global English for Education Programmes
  • Anne Wiseman - Regional Head of English in the EU and Global English for Education Programmes)

Teachers’ feedback

… I suppose that communication and collaboration with other teachers gave me oxygen to live and to think of teaching again, I see how it was necessary for me and I found out about different types of brain and how a person's behaviour changes after he/she has experienced trauma …. There were some practical tips and teaching strategies that I am going to implement in my teaching.

… A teacher is not supposed to cure trauma, but to make the child feel safe and teach how to cope with emotions…

… The key benefits (of the school) are the possibility to meet face to face with colleagues from other countries and other educational systems; openly exchange the ideas concerning the methods how to teach Ukrainian students inside and outside of the country; express as more as possible moral support to Ukrainian teachers, students and their parents in the wartimes; get known how to deal with challenges in a new reality.

… The key benefits are meeting colleagues who have the same problems connected to stress and fear and are ready to share how to solve them together. The main takeaways are practical techniques and strategies how to help yourself first and then create safe classroom for students and support them in difficult times.

I don’t believe it’s possible to express how amazing Summer School Programme is. This is not an option, it’s a must for the one who is fully committed to what he loves and does. I have had an amazing opportunity to take part in the conference, the key thoughts and ideas of which I’m undoubtedly going to use throughout my entire career as a teacher of the English language.

Please follow the links below to find the pictures taken during the course in August 2022, November - December 2022February 2023March 2023, June 2023 and July 2023.