Telling the student what will happen and when and always following through establishes the teacher as a consistent, reliable adult. Ms. Finch would ignore Trevor when he was expressing anger, such as by crumpling up a paper, growling, or slinging a book from his desk onto the floor. Another strategy for providing predictable attention, especially for middle and high school students, is to hand an anxious or traumatized student a sticky note with a time on it as they walk into class each day. This is for the benefit of students and teachers … Equity-driven teaching always takes knowledge and care, and the prospect of using inclusive, affirming teaching strategies to support our students, both in-person and online, is challenging. Common teacher practices such as ignoring inappropriate behavior, sending students to the office, or sending younger kids to sit alone at a back table or in the hallway can unintentionally trigger students who have experienced abandonment or neglect. Click or Tap the Button Below. Ignoring them can trigger a trauma response and make them feel the teacher doesn’t like them or is even happy that they are upset. Trauma-aware practice is becoming ever more popular in schools as teachers attempt to find new ways of tackling challenging behaviour and supporting vulnerable young people. Adapting to this completely different style of learning is difficult for everyone involved, including parents and caregivers. I have no idea where her reaction came from.” This uncertainty leaves the teacher in a constant state of hyper-alertness when interacting with the student. This way adults are communicating, “I like you for who you are,” not “I like you when you behave the right way.”. Trauma-informed teaching recognizes that students’ emotional and physical wellbeing, sense of security and belonging, and their past and current traumas influence their ability to learn. The sad truth is that prolonged exposure to stress can damage the centers of the brain associated with learning, cause behavioral problems, and increase the cycle of violence. Yet the impact could have been greater had she written and shared those strategies with Ms. Finch and the rest of Trevor’s team via a shared document, behavior plan, or student success plan (Minahan, 2019). If Ms. Carlton had written down the successful strategies she used with Trevor, the list might have started with avoiding authoritative directives such as, “Pick that up.” To give Trevor a sense of control, Ms. Carlton always embedded choice in her directions, asking, “Do you want to be in the front of the line or the back of the line?” instead of simply telling him to “line up.” This helped prevent a poor reaction (Minahan, 2019). Trevor, like many traumatized students, had experienced a loss of control in his life, and power struggles with an authoritative figure were particularly triggering. “Typically there is something underneath that driving that to happen, so be sensitive. You have a new child in your classroom. Traumatized students often behave in ways that may interfere with teaching … Employ Thoughtful Interactions. This decreases the stress and uncertainty caused by classroom activity transitions and the roll-out of assignments. In this way, we are sure to reach even our most vulnerable students. Simply put, trauma-informed mindfulness is practicing and/or teaching mindfulness in a way that doesn’t violate the basic premises of trauma-informed care. They often haven’t learned to express emotions healthily and instead show their distress through aggression, avoidance, shutting down, or other off-putting behaviors. She repeated this trust-building strategy several times throughout the year, especially after he exhibited anger or frustration and after school vacations and long weekends. Trauma can be broken down into these eight categories, according to the work of Bonnie L. Green, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Georgetown University (Wilson & Sigman, 2000/Green, 1993): For young students, traumatic stress can severely impact a student’s ability to learn, function in social environments, or manage their emotions and behaviors. When these changes are sudden, it’s especially telling that a student may be experiencing traumatic life events. When he was with Ms. Finch, however, he was sent to the office nearly three times a week for explosive behavior. It is one of the most common accommodations that we offer to students who seem dysregulated. Jessica Minahan. Restorative practices rebuild a traumatized student’s relationship to authority and to the adults and peers in their daily lives. Trauma Informed Teaching Strategies That Are Good For All [Nathan Levy, Dr. Melissa Sadin & Dr. James Singagliese, Dallin Orr, Dallin Orr] on Amazon.com. Trauma-informed teaching strategies can build safety in the classroom through consistency, structure, compassion, and understanding. Childhood trauma can have a huge impact in the the educational setting. When giving negative feedback, teachers can use the positive sandwich approach—starting and ending with a positive comment: (1) “I love how you remembered the formula,” (2) “You made a small calculation error there,” (3) “Great job getting problem #3 correct.”. But when students are doing the wrong thing—like drumming on the desk with a pencil in each hand or swearing—teachers are more predictable and react quickly! Five principles of trauma-informed care 1. Traumatized children who learn to thrive have someone in their life who encourages them and believes in their success. Tea for Teaching Podcast, “Trauma-Informed Teaching with Karen Costa,” April 22, 2020. Teachers may be taken by surprise. Small changes in classroom interactions can make a big difference for traumatized students. These actions can feel antagonistic to teachers who don’t understand the root cause of the student’s behavior, which can lead to misunderstandings, ineffective interventions, and missed learning time. Teachers can use the same principle for kids with trauma and anxiety: Teach students that their brain is like a remote control that they can use to "switch the channel" to help them calm down (Minahan & Rappaport, 2012). We all know the commonly held belief that in order to help someone else, you must first help yourself. Ms. Carlton had a reputation of working well with hard-to-reach kids, and sure enough, Trevor behaved in a stellar way in her class. When a teacher says, “Please correct the first problem,” the student might hear, “You are stupid.” Or a student might report that the teacher screamed at her when the teacher was really using a calm tone, as even neutral facial expressions can be misinterpreted. Here are some examples. Some tips for setting consistency with online students include: setting expectations together, develop and repeat a class mantra, defining digital learning experiences, and conducting regular surveys with your virtual pupils. According to the Treatment and Services Adaptation Center, awareness is the key to managing secondary traumatic stress. Small changes in classroom interactions can make a big difference for traumatized students. For older students, you might try Mad Libs, trivia, or more abstract strategies such as counting all the green items in the room, saying the alphabet backwards, or thinking of the first 10 lines of a favorite movie. 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