Teaching and learning under adverse conditions

Teachers' Voices Episode 2

Join educational researcher Nina Alonso for a new podcast series as she shares powerful stories from teachers around the world, talking in their own words about their own experiences.

In this episode of Teachers’ Voices, we explore the challenges of teaching and learning under adverse conditions with special guest, Willem Frankenhuis. Willem is an expert in developmental psychology, and specialises in social and cognitive skills and abilities that might be enhanced in harsh and unpredictable environments.

Willem discusses why it’s so important to take adversity into account when talking about supporting children’s learning, and suggests techniques that teachers might be able to use to help students who are learning under adverse conditions.

“One of the things we see in research is that making the information concrete and relevant to the lived experience of these children can sometimes enhance their performance.”

We then hear from three educators who each share their inspiring stories about supporting children’s learning in challenging conditions. From Deborah organising reading activities for young refugees on the island of Lampedusa:

“You have to connect with what clicks in someone. And to make them understand that a book is something that opens up to a new world.”

Nadia supporting underserved students in the socially deprived neighbourhood of the Bronx, New York:

“We need to make learning accessible in a way that it actually connects to children’s lives. But if it doesn’t directly connect, how can we make those connections and be intentional about that?”

And Mike teaching dance for social cohesion and children’s well being in Africa’s largest slum, Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya.

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