Student Well-Being

Student Well-Being / Creating Healing Classrooms / Positive and Supportive Communication with Children

Positive and Supportive Communication with Children and Youth

The third component of a Healing Classroom covers: positive and supportive communication with children and youth. This can be a big challenge for all teachers, especially in contexts of crisis, post-crisis and state fragility. Let's discuss the challenges involved and how to best meet them.

How should teachers discuss crises with children and youth? Re-entry into school following a crisis, such as violent conflict or natural disaster, often creates stress and worry for teachers and students. This is a common, normal reaction to an abnormal event. For teachers, the tasks of leading classes and answering difficult questions from students after a potentially confusing crisis can be understandably overwhelming, especially when teachers themselves feel overwhelmed and unsure of the situation and what it implies for their own futures.           

Some children and youth have serious worries but refrain from talking about them. Sometimes this is due to shame or because they are simply not used to talking about themselves with an adult. Youth, at the crossroads between childhood and adulthood, may be unsure how to discuss sensitive topics or with whom to discuss them as their role in society changes. Because no other children or youth are talking about their concerns, children and youth do not realize that they may share similar experiences and fears with their classmates. It is a great source of comfort and support for children and youth to have common problems openly discussed. It helps them to stop feeling alone. Gradually they begin to feel that they can cope better.