Got it!
We use cookies to enhance your experience. By continuing to visit this site you agree to our use of cookies. More info

Already a subscriber or advertiser? Enter your login information here

Saturday, 8 May 2021

FREE! Sign up for the TIE newsletter and never miss out on international school news, headlines, resources and best-practices from around the world!

28 April 2021 | It's a Journey
15 April 2021 | What have we learned?
31 March 2021 | The Time Is Now
17 March 2021 | Designing the Return
04 March 2021 | #MyFreedomDay
17 February 2021 | Revealing the Hidden Curriculum
3 February 2021 | Bring on the Mistakes

view more


Enter your email below to sign up:

Ready to subscribe and get all the features TIE has to offer? Click here >>


You are here: Home > Online Articles > How to Talk with Students About the Coronavirus

Pedagogy & Learning


How to Talk with Students About the Coronavirus

Ben Fishman has a PhD in Psychology and is a licensed principal, teacher, and counselor.

By Ben Fishman


The following are some basic tips for educators when talking with students about the coronavirus:

• Find out what they know. Ask students what they've heard, or if their friends are talking about something. Answer questions simply and directly but try not to overexplain (because you could make them more afraid).

• Create a safe space for discussion. Consider saying "These topics are hard to discuss, even for adults. Let's just talk. I want you to feel free to ask anything you want."

• Provide context and perspective. Students need to understand the circumstances around an issue to fully make sense of it; however, keep the conversation developmentally appropriate and simple for them to understand.

• Address their curiosity. Encourage students to ask questions and acknowledge their feelings.

• Be sensitive to emotions and temperament. Check in by sharing how you feel and ask them how they feel.

• Look for positives. There may not be a silver lining to every cloud, but try to be optimistic; for example, "A lot of people acted like heroes and the healthcare workers in China are working really hard to keep everyone safe.”

• Maintain a sense of normalcy, routine, and structure. Sometimes it is difficult to get away from the media or the rumors when a challenging situation occurs. It is helpful for students to have a daily routine and to maintain a daily schedule. Limit the exposure of news and media coverage.

• Plan a follow-up meeting. Check in with your students, see how they are feeling, and stay connected.

Ben Fishman is currently working as an elementary school counselor at Concordia International School Shanghai. Prior to joining Concordia, he was the head of department of counseling services at the International School of Kenya and also worked at The New International School Thailand, Shanghai American School, and Hong Kong International School.

Please fill out the form below if you would like to post a comment on this article:

Nickname (this will appear with your comments)


There are currently no comments posted. Please post one via the form above.

MORE FROM Pedagogy & Learning
The entire future of how our schools will function appears to be the subject of some considerable de ..more
The whole point of the learning sciences is to use what we know about human cognition in order to cr ..more
Formative assessment presents a powerful opportunity for improving student outcomes. Here are severa ..more
We Don’t Want to Talk About It
By James Toney
What Are the Elements of an Effective Global Citizenship Curriculum?
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Designing Curriculum for Global Citizenship
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist