On the 16th of March, as part of the cooperation between the MaMLiSE team and ODN in Poznań, a webinar was organized under the title “War and displacement in a neighbouring country – what does it mean in my teaching work?”. Austrian experts, Verena Plutzar and Elisabeth Freithofer, shared with the participants their knowledge of working with children with forced migration experiences and war trauma.
The webinar responded to the need for further training of educational professionals concerning the challenges posed by the influx of Ukrainian refugees to European countries and Poland in particular. The event had an international character and was attended by almost 70 individuals.
Several issues were raised during the presentation. First of all, Verena Plutzar and Elisabeth Freithofer referred to the prevailing chaos and disorientation, which might increase the withdrawal as well as the feeling of confusion among the newcomers. They went on to explain what accounts for war trauma, how the body feels it, and how we can help those with such experiences to recover. This part also highlighted the possible overstrain in a teaching role and how to deal with our fears and anger.
The Q&A session, on the other hand, provided an opportunity to gain additional valuable answers to the most pressing questions. Participants gained insight into communicating with children, even when there is no common language. It is necessary to help them open up so that they can express their feelings. Furthermore, the experts responded to the queries about whether and, if yes, how we should discuss war-related issues both with Ukrainian children and with children from the host country. Subsequently, the functions and tasks of the support teacher and cultural assistant were analysed.
As a result, participants received practical tips to make school and classes a safe space for traumatised children.