The purpose of this term paper is to inform schoolteachers, counselors and administrators the importance of three ways to incorporate Trauma Informed Instruction in the classroom. (1) How to recognize students that display traumatic behavior? (2) How to implement strategies and approaches to improve trauma-informed educational outcomes? (3) What methods to use to resolve trauma- informed behavior? Each day, students across the nation carry personal trauma histories into the classroom.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, 2014a, p. 7), trauma “results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and physical, social emotional, or spiritual well- being.” Traumatic events often referred to as adverse experiences are prevalent among children and adolescents of all ages and include circumstances such as a socioeconomic hardship, abuse and neglect, and exposure to community (Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, 2013b).
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Recognizing Traumatic Behavior
Students that have faced a traumatic experience usually express themselves through writing. The students wants to let out their feelings but wants to be careful what they say. They do not want to say anyone’s name and writing help, they figure out their feelings. When students write about their personal experiences, they often choose to relate traumatic incidents and situations. In addition, no wonder. The incidence of psychological trauma among US college student’s populations is high, with estimates ranging from approximately 50 to 90 percent (see Moser et al. 1042: Watson and Haynes 271). Lack of motivation and class participation is a clear indicator a student may show traumatic behavior. In the context of trauma, individuals respond to a traumatic event with intense fear, helplessness, or horror, and they perceive the stressor as uncontrollable or unpredictable (Foa, Zinbarg, & Rothbaum, 1992).
Strategies to Improve Traumatic Educational Outcomes
Schoolteachers, counselors and administrators must initiate strategies and approaches to create a trauma-informed school climate. Schools district should form a trauma-informed school with activates and that really invest in the students at the earliest possible point in their lives. Staff should from a true partnership parents and the community members with their schools. This partnership will show in the huge reduction in “problem” kids as the hit their adolescent years. It will allow teachers the resources we need to help those students who truly do have problems instead of spreading their selves thin trying to Band-Aid problems.
According to Wolpow, Johnson, Hertel, & Kincaid (2009), the roles and functions the principal must undertake to spearhead these changes include:
• Helping the school community anticipate and adapt to the ever-changing needs and the surrounding community.
• Collaborating with all student support service providers to ensure students’ needs are being identified and addressed appropriately.
• Involving parents in student education and behavioral incidences whenever possible
• Being aware of the emotional well-being of staff members and knowing when to offer support.
• Fostering consistent self-care among staff members to avoid burnout
• Mandating suspected child-abuse reports when indicated
• Connecting students to the entire school community and providing them with multiple opportunities to practice newly developed skills throughout the school
Resolving Trauma-informed Behavior
Trauma- informed education models (Downey, 2007; Brunzell, Stokes, & Water, 2016b, 2019, Morgan et al, 2015) comprised of evidence-informed pedagogical designed to assist educators with understanding and teaching student who are trauma affected. Trauma-informed education aims to investigate how teachers learned about, the implemented a new practice pedagogical model, trauma-informed education (Brunzell, Stokes, &Waters, 2016b). There must be some underlining factor to student’s behavior. Teachers need to get their file and do a little investigating. If they cannot then refer students to the school counsellor and make sure, they follow up on it. It is not wise to get physical with students, as it will only cause matter to get worse.
What teachers need to do is to help students as best as they can. Teachers should speak softly to students and do not shout even when they are at the top of their voice. Do not act intimidating or condescending either, just show that you care and in spite of student’s actions, you will not give up on them. Do not allow student to see that their behavior is causing teachers to get upset. Unbelievably, many students love to see when their teacher is upset as it means that they can push them around. Since teachers cannot ignore the behavior completely, they might want to try to treat the issue with a lot more care. First off, try to be kind to him/her. Do not treat the student the way they treat you, as this will not give them any alternatives to their actions. Be gentle and firm with the rules and make no exceptions. Teachers may also try to find out the reasons beyond this behavior.
A trauma-sensitive school is one in which all students feel safe, welcomed, and supported and where addressing trauma’s impact on learning on a school-wide basis is at the center of its educational mission. It is a place where an on-going, inquiry-based process allows for the necessary teamwork, coordination, creativity and sharing of responsibility for all students, and where continuous learning is for educators as well as students.
Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. (2013b). Overview of adverse child and family experiences among U.S. children. Retrieved from http://www.childhealthdata.org/docs/drc/aces-data-brief_version-1- 0.pdf?Status=Master
Downey, L. (2007). Calmer Classrooms: A guide to working with traumatized children. Melbourne: State of Victoria, Child Safety Commissioner. Brunzell, T., Stokes, H., & Waters, L. (2016b). Trauma-informed positive education: Using positive psychology to strengthen vulnerable students. Contemporary School Psychology, 20, 63–83. Retrieved from https ://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-015-0070-x , Morgan et al. (2015) Relational ways of being an educator: trauma-informed practice supporting disenfranchised young people, International Journal of Inclusive Education, 19:10, 1037-1051, Retrieved from DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2015.1035344
Foa E. B, Zinbarg R, Olasov Rothbaum B. Uncontrollability and unpredictability in posttraumatic stress disorder: An animal model. Psychological Bulletin. 1992;112(2):218–238.
Moser, Jason, Greg Hajcak, Robert F. Simons, and Edna B. Foa. “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Trauma-Exposed College Students: The Role of Trauma-Related Cognitions, Gender, and Negative Affect.” Journal of Anxiety Disorders 21 (2007): 1039–49. Science Direct. Web. 19 June 2010.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2014b). Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Sciences. Retrieved from http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//SMA14-4816/SMA14-4816.pdfAmerican Psychological Association. (2017). Stress in America: The state of our nation. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2017/state-nation.pdf
Wolpow, R., Johnson, M. M., Hertel, R., & Kincaid, S. O. (2009). The heart of learning and teaching: Compassion, resiliency, and academic success. Retrieved from Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Compassionate Schools website: http://www.k12. wa.us/compassionateschools/pubdocs/TheHeartofLearningandTeaching.pdf
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