Creating a Trauma Sensitive Classroom

From KNILT

Introduction

Classrooms often have students who have experienced trauma in their life. According to Briggs-Gowan et. al (2010) by the age of 4, 26% of American children have experienced a traumatic event (p.730). The American Psychological Association explains that, “trauma is the emotional response to a terrible event.” Experiencing trauma can have negative effects on students in the classroom. To help students with trauma succeed in learning, teachers can create a trauma-sensitive classroom, which is the purpose of this mini-course.

Susan Craig and Jim Sporeleder (2017) explain that creating a trauma sensitive classroom not only helps students who have expereinced trauma, but also teachers. A common reason for teacher burnout is student behavior and motivation. By creating a trauma sensitive classroom, teachers will be less stressed and not face the effect of secondary trauma (p. 99).

A trauma sensitive classroom is a place that is predictable for students and where students can feel safe. Although schools can and do have a large responsibility for creating a trauma-sensitive atmosphere, teachers on their own can implement this idea in their classroom. To create a trauma sensitive classroom, teachers need to: have a basic understanding of trauma, how trauma effects students, and strategies to implement.

Note: In some videos and readings, trauma informed is used instead of trauma sensitive.

Portfolio for: Creating a Trauma Sensitive Classroom

Course objectives

By the end of the course, learners will be able to create a trauma-sensitive classroom by being able to:

  • Reflect on the importance of creating a trauma sensitive classroom
  • Explain how trauma effects students
  • Analyze self-resiliance
  • Summarize strategies that support a trauma-sensitive classroom
  • Plan procedures that support a trauma-sensitive classroom
  • Create a safe space for students in their classroom

Task Analysis

Lesson One: What is trauma?

Trauma Sensitive Map (1).jpg

1. The learner will define trauma.
2. The learner will identify different types of trauma (ACE).
3. The learner will find their own ACE score.

Lesson Two: The Effects of Trauma
1. The learner will identify how trauma effects the brain.
2. The learner will explain how trauma effects a student in the classroom.

Lesson Three: Strategies to Create a Trauma Sensitive Classroom
1. Find and evaluate resilience score
2. Choose strategies that will help you create a trauma sensitive classroom
3. Apply strategies that will help you create a trauma sensitive classroom
4. Create a plan to make a safe space within your classroom

Lessons

Lesson One: What is trauma?
Lesson Two: The Effects of Trauma
Lesson Three: Strategies to Create a Trauma Sensitive Classroom


Resources

Here are great resources about trauma sensitive classrooms:

National Council of Juvenile and Familiy Court Judges pdf

Heart of Learning and Teaching pdf

Trauma Aware Schools (Website)

Trauma and its Impact Activity Packet pdf

Creating Trauma Sensitive Schools Resources (website)

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (website)

References

Craig, S. E., & Sporleder, J. (2017). Trauma-sensitive schools for the adolescent years: Promoting resiliency and healing, grades 6-12. New York: Teachers College Press.

Briggs-Gowan, M. J., Ford, J. D., Fraleigh, L., McCarthy, K., & Carter, A. S. (2010). Prevalence of exposure to potentially traumatic eventsin a healthy birth cohort of very young children in the northeastern United States. Journal Of Traumatic Stress, 23(6), 725–733.