As a Ukrainian, I asked myself what I can do to help my country at the difficult time during the war in 2022. As a reflective practitioner and teacher, I believe in the power of doing a small good thing for a long time. While not everyone can be in the army, volunteer their time, or donate from the tight family budget, everyone can find something valuable to do and share.
What can that ‘small thing’ be? How can we find that ‘small project’ for ourselves? Here are some questions to guide our thinking in this direction:
- What can I do well, or what do I really like doing? – List as many as you like. My answers: writing, blogging, doing crafts.
- What do I for a living? My answers: online training, curriculum/course design, consulting.
- What do I get ‘thank you’ from others for? – For professional ideas and help. My answers: creative ideas, feedback on a project, offering support (listening), asking a question
- How can I use these skills to #StandWithUkraine? – List as many as you can. My answers (in March): creating a series of lessons about Ukraine? Organizing an online meetup(s) for colleagues? (and 10 other ideas…)
- What help might I need? My answers: constructive and honest feedback (does/would anyone need such activities in their teaching or training practice?). Co-planning or co-writing posts with activity ideas (I am grateful to the colleagues who have already shared the ideas with me. Keep them coming!)
Why drawing a hand when answering these questions? The ‘finger’ spaces are quite small, so you can only write what’s important. The space in the middle (the palm) can be the ‘idea space’ where those answers may prompt a project. For example, I did not have the idea for ‘In (Y)Our Hands’ blog posts series at the stage of drafting this activity. Another emerging note there now says ‘Bring the Reflective Practice Group in Dnipro back to life’, and the meeting is coming this Sunday.
Some examples of great non-ELT projects for inspiration:
Kaizen Ukraine team run daily meetings (in Ukrainian) with someone who keeps working and developing in the difficult times. Every day at 9 am there is a Facebook Live broadcast sharing stories of people who keep working, creating, volunteering, inventing and developing. The people who come and share are deservingly addressed as ‘heroes’, as they are keeping their own frontline and contribute to making the victory closer.
Numerous running events, big and small, collecting money and sending help to the armed forces in the east, north and south of Ukraine. For example, Run Ukraine offers this ‘Suspended registration‘ option (a gift certificate for one of their future races).
‘Babusya’s Cookbook (Granny’s cookbook). This book, initially mounds of paper bound by plastic rings, served many Peace Corps volunteers so well during their service in Ukraine. It includes healthy vegetarian meals as well as Ukrainian traditional dishes (and a combo of the two!) Funds raised will support humanitarian aid and help preserve Ukraine’s cultural legacy.
The daily newsfeed is full of stories about kids in Ukraine who sell toys, break their money boxes, or even cut their hair to support Ukraine.
ELT Community Projects
To support teachers from Ukraine and to examine the pedagogical implications of the war, Alastair Grant is organizing a miniseries of free talks and interviews with leading figures from language teaching. He is talking to ELT-ers from Ukraine and abroad. The first guest was Jeremy Harmer. The guests this weekend are my colleagues from Ukraine, Lana Sushko and Irene Sushko.
UPD: here is the meeting recording if you could not make it. Highly recommended to listen, as there were important (and tough!) questions raised.
Follow Alastair Grant on Facebook for the registration link and updates on the coming conversation times and guest speakers as his project ‘Together for Ukraine‘ is in progress.
What is your project these days?
Thank you for reading, and #StandWithUkraine!