War in the Middle East: Talking to children about the Hamas attack - a teacher reports and gives tips

On the topic "What is Hamas' terror against Israel doing to school children in Germany?" The German Teachers' Association recommended the chairman of the "Young Philologists", an association of high school teachers, Georg Hoffmann, as a discussion partner.

War in the Middle East: Talking to children about the Hamas attack - a teacher reports and gives tips

On the topic "What is Hamas' terror against Israel doing to school children in Germany?" The German Teachers' Association recommended the chairman of the "Young Philologists", an association of high school teachers, Georg Hoffmann, as a discussion partner. The star spoke to him.

I would like to hear from you how the Hamas attack on Israel is discussed in schools. Can you tell me something about that? In some federal states there was or is currently the autumn break, NRW, for example, only started school again on October 16th. The individual ministries informed teachers in official emails about options for action and support. The issue is very virulent everywhere and has already led to various conflicts in schools across the country. Teachers at all schools dedicate themselves to this topic to varying degrees and together with their students, including as part of the curricula. Schools try to provide free and protective spaces for this.

On social media you can read in particular about parents' concerns about how the topic is being dealt with. What do you feel about this? The parents' concerns are enormous, especially in light of possible conflicts among the students that could erupt at school and lead to acute threatening situations. It's a tightrope act for teachers when they dedicate themselves to this topic and end up in arguments with students as a result. There is great potential for conflict, especially if you represent your point of view very clearly to students who have a different perspective or who may be affected by your own family. At school management level, there are fears about the intensity with which this conflict will dominate schools in the coming weeks.

Is there any help for the teachers from the school management? Yes, that's the good thing, on the one hand there are handouts and guidelines from the ministerial level that were also issued to the teachers during the holidays. On the other hand, shortly after the attack took place, official meetings took place at which discussions and agreements were made within the colleges. There is support in schools from the area of ​​school social work and so-called counseling teachers as well as crisis intervention teams who also keep an eye on acutely affected students. In many schools we have so-called preparatory classes that are taught by colleagues who are very well versed in this subject area and can contribute their know-how in this context. School psychology counseling centers and contacts at general counseling centers that you can turn to also help. Unfortunately, the staffing level here is also very thin overall.

How do the children from Ukraine experience the terrorist attack on Israel, which once again confronts them with the topic of war? The large number of images and videos that are now circulating on the Internet, some of which are not pixelated, confront the children and young people again without them being able to can protect against it. This stirs up the memories and emotions of already traumatized students. Hopes for an early end to the war in Ukraine are dwindling. There is also the concern that the people in Ukraine could be left alone because the previous supporters are now taking care of this conflict. There is also the fear of being forgotten. There is also the fear that the conflict could now spill over into Germany.

Do the concerns also differ within the school types? Absolutely! Depending on the school location, type of school and composition of the school community, concerns arise in different ways and in intensity. This requires teachers to have a lot of pedagogical know-how and a sensitivity to individual needs and life situations.

Nowadays, students often only consume news via social media, largely TikTok. Is this the case across all types of schools? Ultimately, a lot depends on the socialization of the students and how they deal with news from social networks. Especially at high school, students are actually sensitized to this. The first access there is often via TikTok and Co, but this is usually followed by the question “Who says that now? What source is behind it?”. And this is then definitely checked or questioned. But: Unfortunately, the first statement remains. Dissolving this through targeted research is a process that not everyone wants or can devote themselves to. Accordingly, certain stereotypes, rumors and fake news from the networks are floating around among the student body, but here too the question remains among students: “Where did you get that from?” In order to master the problem, all types of schools must contribute to the development of the students' media competence in the context of media education, especially the critical examination of positions on the Internet. The social sciences have a special responsibility in this regard. Access to well-founded sources should be made clear to all students and should be made possible without payment barriers, otherwise you open the door to media that do not report well-founded.

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