ear National Coordinators,
Dear Teachers and Students,

Worldcitizens.PNGThe Covid-19 pandemic has led to lockdowns, school closures and social distancing. Restricted movement, disrupted routines, limited social interactions and lack of traditional learning methods has led to increased pressure, stress and anxiety for every one of us.

Within this context, global citizenship education is ever more important. Knowledge, skills, attitudes and values associated with and erived through global citizenship education can significantly contribute to addressing coping and reversing negative emotions and behavior we experience during this crisis.

Engaging in social and emotio​nal learning in particular can be an effective way of staying healthy and positive, navigating emotions, practising mindful engagement, exhibiting pro-social behavior and coping with daily challenges.

In this newsletter issue, you will find some guidance on how to engage in social and emotional learning – on your own and with others – and you can see and read about how ASPnet teachers,  students and parents deal with the current crisis. 


COVID-19 provides us with many challenges but also opportunities. The global health pandemic cannot be defeated by health measures alone. We need to address it together through showing solidarity, empathy and our appreciation of our common humanity.  For instance in France, every night at 8pm, we clap hands from our windows to applaude for the tireless efforts of health workers at the forefront in the fight against this pandemic. In other countries, people sing from balconies to boost morale and inspire hope across the world.  Likewise, we, as the ASPnet community  can show our solidarity by  finding ways to work through it together in the spirit of Global Citizens.

Stay safe. Stay CONNECTed!

Julie Saito, ASPnet International Coordinator

You can watch a video of clapping from the balconies in Paris here


Message from Cecilia Barbieri
Chief of Section, Global Citizenship and Peace Education

Cecilia-Barbieri.PNG  ​These are extraordinary and challenging times, but these are also learning times.
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to reflect on our lifestyles and contemplate on the type of people and society we aspire to become. This crisis has made us realise how strong the bonds of solidarity are. 

Global Citizenship Education is about preparing learners to fully assume their responsibilities as actors in a single, inter-dependent world. This is a wake-up call on the necessity to develop socio-emotional skills critical to global citizenship. 

These are core  in maintaining emotional wellbeing and caring for others.

Please find the video message here. ​


ASPnet Project on Teacher Training in Support of Global Citizenship Education

​Global Citizenship Education (GCED) aims to empower learners of all ages to assume active roles, both locally and globally, in building more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure societies. It seeks to engager a sense of belonging to a broader community and common humanity, which emphasizes political, economic, social and cultural interdependence and interconnectedness between the local, the national and the global.

The UNESCO Associated Schools Network launched a global project on Teacher Training in Support of Global Citizenship Education. The project aims at effectively supporting, within and through ASPnet, teacher educators and teachers to empower students to become proactive contributors to more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and sustainable societies.

Planned activities for this project include a series of webinars leading up to the Global ASPnet Teacher Education Institutions Meeting, the Regional Teacher Training Workshop in Africa, the Global Forum of ASPnet Students, and the Collection of video bites on GCED


What UNESCO is doing?​


Anne-Fleur-Lurvink.PNGA Teacher's Perspective

Interview with Anne-Fleur Lurvink
Teacher, Lyceum Kralingen in Rotterdam, Netherlands​

How do you feel about the current situation? What do you miss the most from your school and students?

I'm experiencing mixed feelings, on the one hand I'm quite proud of what we have accomplished as a team and how we've quicky adapted to our new situation. I'm also proud of my students who have shown great resilience and adaptability. However, I'm also worried.  Some students go off the radar; we are unable to get in touch with them or their parents and we don't know if they are safe. Some students are safe, but are unable to cope due to their situations at home. Especially the less advantaged students run the risk of falling behind due to schools being closed. How do we keep everyone on board? I personally miss the interaction, the contact with students and colleagues the most. Schools are extremely dynamic environments and it's just not the same with distance learning.

How do you structure/organize your day?

To be honest I am still working on finding the right mode. Work and home have become one and it's hard to separate them. For the past 2 weeks my days have consisted of a mix of the following: transforming curricula to online materials and lessons, going to school to invigilate during the school exams (schools have remained open for this), marking, calling parents, calling students, zoom-lessons and zoom-meetings, and non-stop availability on WhatsApp, all fueled by litres of coffee. Luckily, 

​we are sharing best practices on it amongst colleagues and I'll give this challenge another try next week.

How are you helping your students to keep learning? What tools do you use? What opportunities and barriers do you face? 

This is obviously an ongoing challenge and as we go into the fourth week of distance learning we see more and more students checking out. They find it hard to keep motivated and they miss their friends. We offer continuous support in terms of being available 7 days a week through different channels as well as trying to make the online lessons and assignments activating, by using a range of free online applications for education. This situation calls on our creative and innovative sides and it has accelerated the development of digital literacy. It has also stimulated team work and collaboration across disciplines. However, it is all based on students having access to the internet and having a place to work at home, which is just not the case for every student. Not having personal contact with students is another barrier. We can get in touch with them via whatsapp, phone or e-mail, but it is not the same as classroom interaction. We do try and keep up good spirits up by approaching things with a good sense of humour, accept it when things do not go as planned and have a good laugh from time to time.

If you could share a message with other ASPnet teachers and students during this time of COVID-19, what would it be?

As an English teacher I've got many literary quotes up my sleeve, but I'll go for one by one of my favourite philosophers: "You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think" -Winnie the Pooh.

-Interviewed by Katja Anger (ASPnet) 

Tips for social and emotional learning​

Support for different  reactions to the pandemic
  • Every learner is unique and has a different way to respond to stressful events
  • Assure learners that their reactions are normal during such times.
  • Explain the impact of the pandemic in an age appropriate way 
Res​ource: Promoting Psycho-Social Support of Learners During the COVID-19 Outbreak UNESCO Beirut

Encourage healthy,  mindful and kind practices
  • healthy eating habits, regular exercise & sleeping hours.
  • flexible but structured daily routine
  • do something fun or relax
  • Foster mental health
​Resource: UNESCO MGIEP's campaign #KindnessMatters;  Stress and Coping; Series of Bouba et Zaza videos; Smeshariki videos

Make use of arts and culture

Play is learning and helps developing creativity, motor skills and decision-making. Use music,  dance, painting etc. to:
  • bolster communication and interpersonal skills, as well as cognitive development, from concentration to risk-taking.
  • to introduce and build a vocabulary of emotions  ​
Resource: #KeepMakingArt

Foster teens' social connection &  responsible online behaviour

  • Help teens stay connected with friends via social media networks and other safe distancing ways.
  • remind them about safety in digital spaces and opportunities to develop digital skills. 
Resources: Get Digital; Share your story: UNESCO's Associated Schools Network is collecting and sharing coping stories as part of its #LearningNeverStops campaign.

Learning through games and audio resources

Introduce children to online and other games that promote social, emotional and academic learning.
  • Encourage them to practice academic skills at home – for example, using maths to calculate amounts in recipes.
  • Utilize also audio resources, such as short stories narrated by book authors, stories with music, etc.


​Respect peer exchanges

  • Encourage open debate and critical thinking, for example by organizing virtual or other debates and asking learners to debunk information focusing on talking about Covid-19 and the myths associated to it by relying on proven scientific sources.
  • Where possible encourage virtual exchanges with peers in other parts of the world by capitalizing on existing school networks.

Resources:  World Health Organization Q&A page.


COVID-19 Is Creating a World Crisis in Education

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO has launched a blog which offers an update on the global context in education during COVID-19, and shares as well online resources and a new Teacher's Toolkit for the UNESCO Schools Network. ​


Messages of Solidarity

We would like to share some messages of solidarity from students, teachers and national coordinators during this pandemic.
Please click on the link below to watch and read inspiring messages of solidarity!



In English

  • Zimbabwe - Manoty, National Coordinator for ASPnet, Zimbabwe
  • Mongolia - Ganchimeg, English language teacher, Mongolia

"These are quite miserable times but the only thing we can do is hope that this epidemic will be over soon. Nobody is alone in this because we are all going through the same situation and the only thing we can do is support each other through technology and make people feel that we are all in this together." 

Reili Saukas, Tamsalu Gymnasium, Estonia​​

In French
  • Lebanon - Jana, 14, student
  • France - Cléa, 17, student
  • France - Jonas, 14, student

Read this and more testimonies on the #LearningNeverStops webpage


Meet ASPnet team member
Simon Wanda

Watch his video message here



We encourage you to send us your messages of solidarity in words, pictures, videos and art works.  

Your experiences and innovative ways to learn, out of schools and within your families, can contribute to build and strengthen our network.

Please send to aspnetinaction@unesco.org  and attach the consent form.

The ASPnet Team

Julie Saito, Fouzia Belhami, Melanie Seto, Katja Anger, Simon Wanda, Helene Darne, Kangni Chen, Erik Eschweiler, Alba Moral Foster


Get connected: https://aspnet.unesco.org

Contact us: aspnetinaction@unesco.org