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First, teachers must learn to put students' reactions into context—and not to take them personally. (2014). HOW TO USE THIS RESOURCE 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. A listening center or "find the picture" activity can be helpful to young children. I could be a mechanic someday.". Ms. Carlton found this strategy comforting to Trevor. rather than, "Pick that up now" (Minahan, 2019). Phi Delta Kappan, 98(6), 35–41. This way adults are communicating, "I like you for who you are," not "I like you when you behave the right way.". We need to counter this effect with positive experiences. Trauma-Sensitive School Approach Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have lasting emotional and health consequences for children. TRAUMA SENSITIVE STRATEGIES. Ms. Carlton skillfully used relationship-building and interaction strategies to work with Trevor. 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. To support a more accurate self-concept, teachers can provide what Robert Brooks calls "islands of competence" for students swimming in a sea of inadequacy (2003). She would also point out in a written note to Trevor that he was the first student to finish a math activity. Minahan, J., & Rappaport, N. (2012). A teacher's behavior can also feel unpredictable to traumatized students. Instead, we need to help them "change the channel." Trauma Sensitive School. Small changes in classroom interactions can make a big difference for traumatized students. Four Key Assumptions of the Trauma-Informed Approach (SAMHSA): Create your own unique website with customizable templates. We explored whether provider gender sensitivity is associated with positive ratings of trauma‐sensitive communication among women veteran patients. Instead of saying, "No backpacks on the floor. Not everyone wants to or needs to speak about the past. Sensitive service strengthens relationships by building trust, enhancing a sense of security and promoting compassionate communications. Trauma and learning in America's classrooms. 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." ➛ As Minahan writes, "Students can't learn if they don't feel safe." The first time, the note will need to be explained: "If you don't understand something in class, please don't worry—I am going to check on you during independent work time at 11:45, and I will answer any questions you have then." Building positive relationships with students struggling with mental health. I'll be back to check on you," the student has no way of predicting how long they need to wait—and from past experience they know that the teacher may forget to return altogether. Because predictability is comforting to students with anxiety and trauma histories, they may resort to getting the teacher's attention through inappropriate means. Play Like a Champion provides the following information to help coaches understand trauma and to respond to trauma … (2018). instead of simply telling him to "line up." When speaking to someone who has been through trauma, particularly about that trauma, you need to think carefully before you speak and speak with intention. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Likewise, if counselors, school nurses, and psychologists write and share such techniques with each classroom teacher, kids like Trevor, when triggered, wouldn't always have to leave class to find a safe adult. Neurobiologically, students can't learn if they don't feel safe, known, and cared for within their schools (Aupperle et al., 2012). Teachers' behavior is also communication—and it may not be communicating the message we are striving to send. The trauma-sensitive classroom: Building resilience with compassionate teaching. We need to remember that when some of our students were young and cried, no one came. By using trauma-sensitive strategies in the classroom, we can help reduce the times our students are "shaken.". Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Click on keywords to see similar products: I don't want to trip and fall!" Reducing the anxiety of an already stressful IEP process for families requires a team that is responsive, inviting and open-minded, particularly given the negative impact of caregiver stress on children and youth. Behavior is communication, and we've looked at how traumatized students often communicate feelings through their behavior. They often haven't learned to express emotions healthily and instead show their distress through aggression, avoidance, shutting down, or other off-putting behaviors. Could you please move your backpack?" 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. This article adds to that guidance by highlighting considerations that arise when accounting for trauma’s effects. Providing predictability through visual schedules of the class agenda or school day can help. The goal of creating a “trauma sensitive school” is to reduce problem behaviors and emotional difficulties, as well as optimize positive and productive functioning for all children and youth. The student can better tolerate uncomfortable feelings when they know help and a positive interaction are coming. We need to be aware of the words we choose, the tone we use and how we phrase our questions. The academic consequences of feeling unsafe at school. Prior to meetings, pr… At one point in the year, Ms. Carlton told Ms. Finch that … Completely revised and updated, this groundbreaking multimedia resource integrates a trauma-sensitive model with the core belief that identifying, reinforcing, and building on inherent strengths can facilitate positive youth development. When a student thinks negatively, the negative moments during the day tend to weigh more heavily than the positive moments. When possible, she also gave Trevor extended time to comply with directions to avoid power struggles, asking, for example, "Can you please pick that up before lunch?" Preparing Trauma-Sensitive Teachers: Strategies for Teacher Educators Connie Honsinger, Ph.D Chesterfield County Public Schools Mavis Hendricks Brown, Ph.D. University of Richmond Abstract Many children who attend school have or will experience some type of trauma that may impact cognition, behavior, and relationships (Van Der Kolk, 2014). Pages 30-35. CDC. They say things like, "But he was fine this morning, I didn't see that coming!" Identify negative language. It is essential that adults become aware of the prevalence and impact of trauma, and learn to apply a “trauma lens” (i.e., gain the capacity to view children’s difficulties in behavior, learning, and relationships as natural reactions to trauma that warrant understanding and sensitive care). To counter this imbalance and create an overall feeling of safety, teachers can use predictable positive attention (Minahan, 2014). Trauma-Informed Communication Many resources are available on developmentally appropriate interviewing and counseling of children and youth. I have a bad knee! In high school, educators may want to foster students' talents by never letting them drop electives (which might require creativity in scheduling academic support in core classes). It is helpful to smile and explicitly say when you are happy with the student, a strategy Ms. Carlton utilized. Relate to key trauma-sensitive communication skills; Trauma 106: An Introduction to Trauma for Youth. Common classroom management strategies often only exasperate this tendency. Here are some examples. She is the coauthor of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students (Harvard Education Press, 2012) and author of The Behavior Code Companion: Strategies, Tools, and Interventions for Supporting Students with Anxiety-Related or Oppositional Behaviors (Harvard Education Press, 2014). A multi-year transformation process that seeks to embed sustainable changes into school culture, policies, practices and procedures. Collaboration with Families Collaboration with families that actively engages them in all aspects of their children’s education helps them feel welcome at school and understand the important role they play. Conversely when Ms. Finch had Trevor go for a walk, his negative thinking would escalate, and he would often not return to class. Interaction strategies are a type of accommodation that typically go unnamed and unwritten, but they were the reason that Trevor could feel safe and access the curriculum (Minahan & Rappaport, 2012). Students can't learn unless they feel safe. Minahan, J. ​Both students and staff feel both physical and psychological safety, Environment is created with safety in mind, The safety of students is the highest priority, Staff have an awareness of the student's previously experienced trauma, Environment is inviting with shared spaces, Organizational operations and decisions are done with transparency, Goal of building and maintaining trust with students and families, All those involved with students are aware of the current needs and issues, Collaboration with peers about their experiences, We learn from others who have had similar experiences, Strong relationships with students and staff, Active collaboration with parents and outside care providers, Collaboration with all role players (e.g., custodian, office staff, bus driver), Student strengths and experiences are recognized, School staff have a belief that all students can recover and heal from trauma, Recognition that focus on the recovery from trauma can unify the team, Both students and staff are encouraged and empowered, Students are actively involved in the process of recovery, Shared decision making and goal setting (student-led IEPs), Staff facilitate recovery, rather than dictate recovery, Appropriate organization support for teachers, Staff must feel safe just as much as students, ​Organization moves past cultural stereotypes and biases, Incorporation of policies, protocols, and processes that are responsive to racial, ethnic, and cultural needs. Everything about the school environment must be focused on the areas of resilience, recovery, and healing. Monday through Friday She could have told Ms. Finch how she used the "two by ten" rule; she talked to him for two minutes a day for 10 days in a row about topics unrelated to academics or behavior. One way to understand these reactions is to think of the student as a soda can, and events that may trigger their trauma stress as shaking that can. Ms. Carlton would say, "Oh dear, I hope I don't fall. We can't tell by looking if the can was recently shaken, but if it was, opening the can results in an unexpected explosive, messy reaction. or "She normally loves playing the drums in music class. Subscribe to ASCD Express, our free email newsletter, to have practical, actionable strategies and information delivered to your email inbox twice a month. Trauma sensitive: The workplace can operationalise some concepts of a trauma-informed approach. We want them to say, "I really helped that student with her artwork. A culturally-sensitive, trauma-informed care provider can help traumatized children and families by: Recognizing cultural variations in the subjective perception of trauma and traumatic stress responses Understanding the role of beliefs in the interpretation of trauma and the recovery process Conversely, Ms. Finch would often go up close to Trevor, tower over him, and say in front of his peers, "Stop tapping your pencil!" 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Trauma‐sensitive communication reflects an understanding of the impact of trauma and the needs of trauma survivors during health care encounters. Culturally-Sensitive Trauma-Informed Care refers to the capacity for health care professionals to effectually provide trauma-informed assessment and intervention that acknowledges, respects, and integrates patients' and families' cultural values, beliefs, and practices. Creating safe and supportive environments for youth involves educating youth on why people behave the way they do. Traumatized students often engage in inaccurate thinking, tending to focus on the negative. Description. Unfortunately, saying, "Build a relationship" is too vague and leaves too much up to the teacher's instincts. Up to two-thirds of U.S. children have experienced at least one type of serious childhood trauma, such as abuse, neglect, natural disaster, or experiencing or witnessing violence. At one point in the year, Ms. Carlton told Ms. Finch that building a relationship with Trevor was key to her success with him, and she suggested that Ms. Finch do the same. When teachers are proactive and responsive to the needs of students suffering from traumatic stress and make small changes in the classroom that foster a feeling of safety, it makes a huge difference in their ability to learn. Ms. Carlton was adamant about previewing any changes to the normal routine ahead of time (saying, "We are going to have indoor recess today because of the snow," or "The DVD player isn't working so we can't watch a science video at the end of class today"). Metairie, LA: The Center for Development and Learning. Early traumatic experiences can make the body’s stress response systems hyper-sensitive, putting kids’ “fight-flight-or-freeze” response on a hair trigger ( … New York: W.W. Norton & Company. Self-worth, resilience, and hope: The search for islands of competence. When I grow up, I could work with kids." This is a much more empathetic approach, will preserve the relationship, and will avoid triggering a trauma response in the student. Learn more about the urgent need for all individuals working in behavior health and community services to practice using trauma-sensitive language. For Coaches: How to be Trauma Sensitive & Responsive in your Coaching Young people today are exposed to a variety of situations that may induce trauma. The teacher is 50 percent of every interaction with a student: By changing the way we give a direction or respond, we can reduce problematic behavior. All staff must be actively implementing trauma sensitive practices throughout the school day (e.g., the staff greeting at the front door, the lunch staff interacting with the student, paraprofessionals assisting with work tasks). These switching activities are called cognitive distractions or thought breaks and are incompatible with negative thinking. What small changes are you willing to try in your classroom to foster a sense of safety among traumatized students? Whenever Ms. Carlton could see she wouldn't have time for this in the 10-day period, she asked the counselor or special education teacher to cover her class for two minutes so she could go for a walk with Trevor. Recognizing areas of strength in students is a powerful way to combat the poor self-concept and negative thinking associated with trauma (Jennings, 2018). If the teacher has many students in the class that could benefit from this, she could transfer the strategy to small groups: "I will check on this desk group at X time.". More than 400+ videos combine with written chapters and an enhanced website platform to show how strength-based communication engages and … She would write, "Please stop tapping" on a piece of paper, put it gently on Trevor's desk without his peers noticing, and then give him space by walking away quickly. Traumatized students often behave in ways that may interfere with teaching and learning, which can be frustrating. Trauma responsive: Individuals and the organisation recognise and respond to trauma enabling changes in behaviour and strengthening resilience and protective factors. If the answer is no, contriving an island of competence for the student is in order. 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). Some examples of policies that schools often review as they become trauma sensitive include: discipline policies; communication procedures; and safety planning. Meanwhile, the amygdala becomes even more sensitive once it is activated, meaning a traumatized child may have hair-trigger responses to unprocessed emotional memories related to their trauma or stressors. (2019). The journey towards becoming a trauma sensitive school is one that builds over time—with knowledge, skills and practice. Using Trauma Sensitive Language. The majority of human communication is non-verbal. During independent work time, if a teacher says to a student "Great work! Supervisor Taylor Amendment Requires Trauma Sensitive Communication. MISSION: ASCD empowers educators to achieve excellence in learning, teaching, and leading so that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. One ineffective staff member can … Stating the reason first assured that Trevor knew the context (and necessity) of the demand. Address 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.". Trauma-exposed students may interfere with classroom learning, which can be frustrating.

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