Supporting students and schools impacted by crisis

There are ongoing tragic events that children and schools are experiencing at personal, local, and global levels.

This framework supports the use of the IB mission to engage students and schools learning through crisis and learning about crisis.

The IB places trust in children. Their curiosity is nurtured, they are encouraged to develop their sense of empathy and compassion and they learn to think critically, in safety. They will grow into adults who will act with integrity.

This framework and its resources aim to support students and schools impacted by crisis. It also supports individual and school resilience throughout extended crisis and recovery. This could mean a personal, local, or global situation, such as:

  • loss
  • conflict
  • pandemics
  • wars
  • natural disasters
  • school tragedies
  • climate change

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Schools worldwide are directly and indirectly impacted, and students may find themselves learning through crisis or learning about crisis.

Resources have been curated that support: our well-being, our learning, our action, and our communities.

Crisis framework infographic (PDF, 388 KB)

During any crisis it is important to be attentive to:

  • the safe spaces we create
  • the language we use
  • the conversations we have
  • the information we share
  • and the sensitivities that exist within our learning communities.

We do this recognizing impact of crisis on children and adults is not about proximity to crisis, but their connections to it.

Note: (disclaimer)
This framework is a collection of curated resources, including external resources. The IB has not quality assured these resources and advises educators to use their professional judgement in determining what is appropriate to their needs and context.

Our well-being

Learning in crisis and learning about crisis causes concern and fear among adults and children alike:

  • fear for safety
  • fear of loss (for example, home, belongings, loved ones)
  • fear of being lonely and disconnected
  • fear of the unknown future

While fear is considered a normal reaction to danger, helping us to adapt to the environment, the research has shown that not everyone has the same sensitivity to this type of stimulus. An individual’s reaction to a crisis can be highly influenced by past and present trauma(s), the family and social environment, by many forms of media and by the types of measures taken in a particular community. Sustained worry and fear may also lead to a heightened level of stress, resulting in complex negative experiences for some. While acknowledging some people will need additional and more sustained levels of support, further research has shown that many people, and especially children, are naturally resilient and most will adapt.

Click the links for tools and research to help teachers, leaders, and parents and guardians address well-being both for students and for themselves.

Talking with Children about war and violence in the world

Ukraine: Resources for international schools and families

How to start a conversation with children and young people about mental health

Guide for refugee parents

How to talk to your children about conflict and war: 8 tips to support and comfort your children

Emotional Well-Being and Coping During Crises

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IB well-being resource guide

(PDF, 1.6 MB)

Our learning

During times of crisis, learning can provide structure, routine, and a voice to young people.

Learning can help students explore possible answers to questions, solutions to challenges, and tools to help them manage difficult situations. A crisis can also provide a context for meaningful exploration of the complex, sometimes frightening, issues facing humanity and the planet.

The IB aims to equip and empower you to adapt your learning experiences as you see fit, using the learner profile, approaches to teaching and approaches to learning.

Click the links for resources that will help you facilitate these kinds of explorations with your learners, underpinned by these key tenets of an IB education.

EuroClio resources to teach about the invasion of Ukraine

How to discuss the Ukrainian crisis in class

Explore the current situation in Ukraine and its historical origins

Learning lesson - the Invasion of Ukraine

How to approach Ukraine and Russia war in the classroom

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IB learning resource guide

(PDF, 2 MB)

Our action

There are two ways to respond to a crisis: when you are experiencing the crisis, and when you are hearing about it.

  • When experiencing a crisis, it is most common to ask: “What can I do about my situation?”
  • When hearing of a crisis, it is most common to ask: “What can I do to help?”

To effectively answer these questions and appropriately engage with individuals and communities in crisis, it is necessary to take a step back and to understand and evaluate the situation to take responsible action that helps those in crisis.

Action must be informed and guided by compassion. Being compassionate includes understanding the complex and systemic nature of any crisis. Context matters. What any person or community can and should do in any crisis depends on the context in which they are living.

Click the links for resources.

External resources

How to Talk With Students About the Russia-Ukraine War: 5 Tips

The How and Why of Trauma-Informed Teaching

Teaching for sustainable development through ethical global issues pedagogy: A resource for secondary teachers

Creating Safe Environments

IB resources

Action and international-mindedness - PYP

Service as Action in the MYP in different modes of teaching and learning

MYP: Meeting requirements in Challenging Circumstances – June 2020

Examples of research-based, indirect or advocacy type service learning for remote or hybrid learning- CP

Global engagement: Teaching and learning about conflict

Global Engagement Good Practice Guide - civic participation

About compassionate systems

Our community

Schools are encouraged to think of the many communities’ students navigate, and further consider the different levels of understanding of the crisis and the types of relations and responses in the school and wider communities.

A supportive school community creates safe spaces for meaningful conversations and engages with controversial issues in sensitive and reflexive ways.

Some of the methods for supporting the school community include trauma-informed education, restorative practices, reconciliation education, conflict resolution, and communication strategies with the wider community. This includes supporting parents and guardians to engage in conversation with their children.

Click the links for resources.

Teaching Sensitive Material in the Classroom An Additional Resource to Teaching the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Adverse Childhood Experiences – webinars

How to support your child during conflict and crisis situations

Resources for Teachers – Conflict Resolution Education Connection

How to Talk to Kids About Violence, Crime, and War

Responding to Crisis, Death or Trauma

Resilience in a time of war: Tips for parents and teachers of elementary school children

Resilience in a time of war: Tips for parents and teachers of middle school children