As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to scale, young people are feeling anxiety, fear or anger brought on by this disturbing conflict.
AFS always stands on the side of peace. This situation goes to the very heart of our mission and to the foundation of our programs, which were started with an aim to build a more just and peaceful world. Members of the AFS community have been eager to take action and stand for our values which affirm the dignity and worth of every human being, regardless of what nation or culture they come from, and their right to live in a just and peaceful world.
As experts at helping people build bridges between each other, across culture, and above differences, we have curated a set of resources for educators (teachers, schools and non-formal education providers) and families. We invite anyone to use these to support young people in processing these current events, practicing their critical thinking and media literacy, and avoiding the rise of stereotypes and prejudices.
The D.I.V.E. Exercise
Used often in AFS educational activities, D.I.V.E. is designed to help individuals learn to temporarily suspend judgment and verify insights before making a final assessment about a situation or information. It can also help learners navigate situations where they encounter something or someone different in everyday life to have more effective, appropriate and meaningful interactions with others. This practical exercise can help teachers nudge critical thinking, suspend judgment, and foster curiosity — all considered crucial for global and intercultural competence — in your students.
Global Thinking Routines
Global Thinking offers tools to nurture global thinking dispositions. The materials and tools include a framework for teachers to become familiar with global competence, or the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance, and help their students investigate the world beyond their immediate environment, recognize their own and others’ perspectives, and communicate across differences. The toolkit provides four distinct activities teachers can use to bring global thinking routines into your classroom and to share these experiences with others.
Exploring Complexity features tools and strategies for supporting learners to enter and investigate the complexity of ideas, objects and systems from a variety of points of view. Exploring complexity involves identifying multiple and often competing perspectives, looking closely at interacting factors, recognizing conflicting values and forces, and appreciating issues of power, truth, and leadership. The outcome of such an inquiry is a deeper understanding of different parts, tensions, or uncertainties involved in complex situations, like the one we are living in now.
Other suggested readings:
- 8 Resources Teachers Are Using to Discuss Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine by Sarah Schwartz & Marina Whiteleather, Education Week
- How to Talk to Kids About Ukraine by Melinda Wenner Moyer, The New York Times
- An immediate consequence of the war is the flow of refugees seeking protection in neighboring countries. AFS Partners have helped communities welcome and integrate refugees into local life on several occasions in the past. In Sweden volunteers helped the integration of refugees, they launched a foundation in Austria; and worked with government agencies in Belgium to set up a buddy system to help refugees and asylum seekers feel welcome.
These resources are examples of how to address current events by fostering powerful dialogs on complexity and global competence. If you have more resources or would like to support AFS in advancing our mission, please contact AFS in the country where you live.
We thank Veronica Boix Mansilla (Principal Investigator of Project Zero at the Harvard School of Education, and AFS International Board of Trustees member) for sharing the tools developed by PZ Connect, a collaboration between Project Zero and Independent Schools of Victoria (Australia).