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,
March 2023

We are announcing an application for the new cohort of teachers to participate in the Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times course in March 2023.

The course will be delivered in Krakow, Poland.

English teachers in Ukraine who either have relocated from their regions but continue working with their learners or those English teachers in Ukraine or their counterparts who work with displaced learners are invited to participate in the course.

Teachers-participants will have an opportunity to share their experience, successes and concerns, and to learn how to create a trauma-sensitive learning environment, how to manage challenging learners’ behaviours and how to make a classroom a safer space for learners. If you are interested in participating in the course and match requirements for participants, please fill in an application form by 2 March 2023.

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.

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.

You can find pictures taken at the International Summer School in Warsaw or from the course that took place in November - December of this year.