How to talk about war. Facilitating learning in the face of crisis
“How to talk about war” is about how to face crisis situations and make it a topic in non-formal education events, especially if you work with interculturally mixed and transnational groups. Together with Dagna Gmitrowicz and Marta Brzezińska-Hubert we tried out and put together various ways to bring the topic of war to non-formal education and search mutually for ways to handle it within our workshops, seminars and training courses. This small publication is a work-in-progress and an attempt to find first answers and practical ways to talk about war in a non-formal setting.
“Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”Brené Brown
Facilitating learning in the face of crisis
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War February 24th 2022. When the Russian army crossed the border and invaded Ukraine we were in the middle of an On-Arrival Training for volunteers in Poland. In our group were participants from all over Europe, including Ukraine and Russia. We had our programme in the context of a terrifying war, and a refugee crisis, that was just about to unfold. Since then, we have been involved in various events with interculturally mixed groups, always challenged by the impact of this war and the question of how to find a balance between individual needs, the group process, the content within a crisis that was escalating more every day.
The War in Ukraine suddenly brought the war to our doorsteps. It opened our eyes to other wars that are currently happening in the world, wars that are happening far from our borders. Wars we tend to ignore and look in a different direction.
“How to talk about the war” became a question that haunted us. Together with our colleagues, we tried out several things and we posed ourselves several questions:
- How to address the war? Do I have to talk about it?
- How can I prepare talking about war?
- How can I inspire small actions?
- How can I support self-care and build resilience?
- How can I support those who are especially in need?
- How can I strengthen the group/community?
- How can I take care of myself?
Since then, we have tried out various ways to bring the topic of a war to non-formal education and search mutually for ways to handle it within our workshops, seminars and training courses. This is a work-in-progress like this article, an attempt to ask the right questions and an attempt to find first answers and practical ways to talk about war in a non-formal setting.
by Dagna Gmitrowicz, Marta Brzezińska-Hubert and Michael Kimmig
Self-published, Berlin, Poznan, Warsaw, March 2022
Alternative downloads: SALTO Toolbox and EPALE (registered members only) or the website of Polish National Agency of the European Solidarity Programme.
Connect: Dagna Gmitrowicz, instagram, Marta Brzezińska-Hubert, linkedin and Michael Kimmig, linkedin
Selected (not included in the publication)
Talk about the war
How to Talk with Children About the Conflict in Ukraine via savethechildren.org
Teachers can offer a safe space for students to talk about the war in Ukraine and help them take action via theconversation.com
Teaching about Ukraine. Information sites and news about Ukraine by Erik Ofgang via techlearning.com
Fact-Checking Sites for Students by David Kapuler via techlearning.com
How to recognize signs of distress in children. Common reactions to stress in children. via unicef.org
Look – Listen – Link. Psychological First Aid. BlogPost by Michael Kimmig
Psychological first aid: Guide for field workers by World Health Organization, War Trauma Foundation and World Vision International, 2011
Crisis Intervention Resources. Supporting volunteers and volunteering organisations via Mentoring under Construction [padlet]
Self-care and well-being
Five Steps of EmotionAid. Practical toolkit for managing emotions and reactions during times of crisis (in English, French, German, Hebrew, Arabic, Polish, Chinese, Farsi, Turkish, Russian, Spanish, Italian). via emotionaid.com
256 Cards of feelings and needs – Cards of feelings and needs in four different painting styles by ARTE EGO Foundation in Poland and GrenzKultur / Cabuwazi in Germany
Well-being of ESC volunteers and coordinators by Marta Brzezińska-Hubert [padlet]
Ideas for small actions
Real ways you can help Ukraine as a foreigner via supportukrainenow.org
28 Meaningful Ways You Can Help Ukraine via globalcitizen.org
Links last visited 20.03.2022