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Transforming Education in Challenging Environments

Discover practical ways teachers can transform the education of children and young people living in conflict-affected contexts.

5,565 enrolled on this course


Transforming Education in Challenging Environments

5,565 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Build the knowledge needed to teach children affected by difficult contexts

Teachers play an important role in supporting vulnerable children affected by mass displacement, crisis, and conflict. Refugee children may also be victims of violence and other issues that impact their emotional wellbeing and ability to learn. Teachers need to be prepared to deal with these difficulties.

On this course, you will learn how teachers can make a difference to children from challenging contexts. You will discover how to transform learning spaces and educational practices, and you will share your teaching methods and real experiences of teaching in crises with other educators.

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  • Week 1

    Educators changing learning environments

    • Welcome to the course

      Introducing the course content and the first week's material, where we look at educators as agents for change.

    • Educators imagining and creating change with limited resources

      No matter what the physical resources are, teachers imagine a better environment for their students. They also implement simple techniques to realise this imagined space.

    • Educators responding to challenges in the social environment

      The social environment has an impact on teaching and learning and can enhance or hinder their ability to learn. Teachers use various methods to respond to this environment, including the use of digital technologies.

    • Approaches to changing the learning space

      There are principles that frame our teaching and learning processes as transformative educators. These principles can be instilled in our practice to make positive change, and listening to learners is key.

    • Moving forward with ideas for change

      If the basic principles of participation, equality, and acceptance are understood and we believe in the positive role of education it is possible to create space for all children to learn.

  • Week 2

    Understanding learners in context

    • The wider contexts that influence teaching and learning

      Introducing ecological systems theory to help make sense of the wider factors that impact children, young people, and their teachers.

    • Understanding learner perspectives

      Understanding what children bring to learning and ideas for how teachers can encourage learners to share their perspectives.

    • Teaching controversial issues

      There are many occasions when controversial issues come up in class, and particularly when children and teachers are experiencing challenging situations. How can we respond?

    • Summary

      Summarising this week's learning.

  • Week 3

    Transforming learning for an unknowable future

    • Responding to students’ needs and aspirations

      Ways of transforming our educational practice to support learners' aspirations.

    • Transformative teaching and learning

      Putting transformative teaching and learning into practice.

    • Collaborating on transformative education

      Submit a teaching idea for peer review and review others' ideas.

    • Understanding and working within limitations

      Teachers are not alone, and counsellors and social workers can provide support when teachers cannot.

  • Week 4

    Digital networks for change

    • Digital tools to help learners

      How can digital methods be used by teachers to enhance learning in challenging contexts?

    • Digital tools to help teachers

      What digital tools can be used to help teachers design effective learning?

    • Sharing our best ideas

      Teachers share their ideas of and for transformative education.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Adapt the learning spaces to respond to the diverse profiles of children/young people and contribute to making education a transformative process
  • Work with the diversity of children and young people’s experiences in the learning spaces to build on their strengths and respond to the challenges to learning
  • Reclaim teaching as a profession that promotes an understanding of inclusive prosperity and life with dignity and a hope for a better future
  • Engage in the process of co-design and sharing effective educational practices and experiences using digital platforms
  • Promote inclusive pedagogical practices among educators who work in the context of mass displacement

Who is the course for?

This course is ideal for teachers in areas affected by mass displacement who work in both formal and informal educational settings. It will also be of interest to teachers who are themselves refugees, students studying education, and volunteers who work humanitarian agencies in education.

Who will you learn with?

Research Associate at the UCL Institute of Education with the Future Education team at the RELIEF Centre https://www.relief-centre.org
Research fellow at the Centre for Lebanese Studies

Associate Professor in Education and International Development
CEID, University College London
Twitter: @pherali

Professor in Education, Wellbeing and International Development at UCL Institute of Education and one of the educators on the course. I look forward to working with you !

Chair of Learning with Digital Technology, Knowledge Lab, UCL IOE.
Developing a global community of teachers around the Learning Designer

Twitter: @thinksitthrough

Senior Researcher at UCL Institute of Education with the Future Education team at the RELIEF Centre:
Twitter: @eileenkennedy01

Maha Shuayb the director of the Centre for Lebanese Studies. Maha’s research focuses on the sociology and politics of education particularly equity and equality in education.

Who developed the course?

UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. It was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, and the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it.


The Centre for Lebanese Studies (CLS) is an independent academic research institution whose purpose is to promote international understanding of the country and the issues facing it.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Buy this course

$54/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 9 Aug 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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