In the framework of its education response to crisis situations in the Arab region, and in light of the current difficult circumstances Lebanon is going through, UNESCO Beirut organized on 13 January 2020 an orientation on psychosocial support (PSS) to educators of the Hariri network of schools in Saida. The orientation seminar, which took place in Khan el Franj in Saida, was attended by 70 educators from the private and public schools of the network.
Delivered by Mrs Maysoun Chehab, Basic Education Programme Officer at UNESCO Beirut, the seminar consisted of an introduction to the Psychosocial Support Kit for Teachers, produced by UNESCO Beirut in 2018. The kit is a self-learning teacher’s kit consisting of five booklets on psychosocial support targeting teachers working with children impacted conflict and emergency situations. It develops the capacity of teachers to effectively handle conflict-affected children; promote well-being and encourage participation and development of positive behaviours; and improve teaching and learning in emergency situations and the delivery of effective responses.
In her presentation, Mrs Chehab highlighted the need for schools and teachers to adapt to crises and to adopt a flexible approach to best respond to students’ psychosocial needs. Mrs Chehab stressed on the importance of embracing non-traditional, out-of-the-box teaching methods and practices, to accompany students in difficult circumstances. “An exceptional situation requires a non-traditional school approach”, she said.
Teachers shared their experiences and concerns regarding the challenges they are currently facing with students affected by the ongoing situation in Lebanon. Participants reflected on good practices and innovative approaches to best accompany students.
At the end of the seminar, MP Bahia Al Hariri, head of the Education Committee at the Lebanese Parliament, made a surprise visit to the participants and encouraged them to build their capacities and skills in order to be able to respond to the needs of students impacted by the crisis. She thanked UNESCO for their technical support, and promised to organize workshops to train educators on issues related to psychosocial support, conflict management, and mediation.