Module 5: Trauma Informed Pedagogies and Practices

In this Module we will focus specifically on trauma informed pedagogies to promote resilience. Resilience is the person’s ability to cope with difficulties and recover from hard circumstances, to navigate adversity and grow through the challenges. Emotional dexterity is helping ourselves recognize strengths and providing tools to adapt in times of stress or upheaval are integral to resilience building. Resilience is about bouncing back, but also emphasizes failure as an opportunity for personal growth. This includes learned optimism, real time resilience, character strengths, and good relationships.

Objectives

Participants will:

  1. Identify main tasks of executive functioning, as well as what happens to executive functions in times of stress and trauma
  2. Rethink classroom practices to support student resilience and wellbeing
  3. Apply trauma informed pedagogies to their online course design
  4. Reflect on their own resilience

Explore the Resources

 

This image gives a bit of background about what executive function manages––effort, focus, memory––and also details what becomes compromised when our executive functioning is challenged, either because of every day learning differences or because of something like stress and trauma.

Consider This

 

Have you experienced issues with your own Executive Functioning during the Pandemic? Have you had days when it was hard to focus? When you had a hard time self-regulating and self-motivating yourself? Have you experienced that low energy, low alertness and complex (or even difficult) emotions?

Science tells us it’s never too late to build up these “core capabilities” of executive functioning. Some activities that do so:

  • Allow room for open-ended creativity that builds social connections and allows for organic interaction with boundaries.
  • Incorporate mindfulness strategies into home and school routines that can reduce stress.
  • Make time for physical exercise, as it has “been shown to positively affect stress levels, social skills, and brain development”
  • Practice makes progress (not perfection). Engaging with supportive adults and peers can also reinforce learning.

Explore the Resources

This is an hour-long video on Trauma-Informed (TI) pedagogies that will very much inform your input on the discussion boards that follow. The first part is mostly contextual background on trauma and it’s very useful for understanding the latter part of the presentation better. The second part is on pedagogy.

Trauma-Informed Teaching & Learning in Times of Crisis

See the slides here.

Activity

 

Consider and Discuss General Reactions

  • What is the difference between trauma-informed and trauma-specific? What is it that we (as teachers) are NOT doing?
  • What content or facts from this video were you surprised about?
  • Was there any new information or facts that you learned from this video?
  • Pedagogy, policy, class discussions – re-traumatization. What’s your thought on education as re-traumatization?

Pratt Faculty Voices

Educators need to be trauma-informed, but we aren't qualified to give trauma-specific help to our students. Although we can look for struggling students, direct them to resources, advocate for them, etc.

Faculty Member

I was surprised at how many students in college experience trauma. I also appreciated the importance of acknowledging how many educators experience trauma while they are responsible for teaching.

Faculty Member

Trauma informed is being aware of the ways that violence or other forms of trauma impact individuals, and using that understanding to adopt ways of minimizing (re)traumatization. I learned from this video that systematic and/or cultural oppression can create trauma in an individual. This is very pertinent in the light of the current movement for anti-racist awareness.

Faculty Member

Activity

 

Consider and Discuss the Impact of Trauma on Learning

  • What are some of the impacts and how does it connect to learning?
  • What does it mean for your own teaching, policies?
  • What can we do to be more trauma-informed as an educator?
  • Which of these tips do you already practice, which ones do you want to improve on or learn more about?

Pratt Faculty Voices

The trauma during learning can impact students to be distracted by intrusive thoughts about the event that prevent them from paying attention in class, studying, or performing well on a test. To help these students, I think all courses should include plans to ensure that students are physically and emotionally safe at school.

Faculty Member

In the future I will consider making all remaining course modules available so students can work ahead if needed.

Faculty Member

To be well informed about this issue as an educator, student mental health support coordinators’ help should be available as well as the use of external resources for problem solving is coordinated and maximized: resources for exercise, sports and expressive arts such as, singing, dance, theater, which provide outlets for gross motor activity and a safe way for students to express their emotions.

Faculty Member

Activity

 

Consider and Discuss Growth Mindset

  • Growth mindset is an important framework to teach and utilize.
  • How are you planning to promote a ‘Growth Mindset’ in your online course?
  • What are examples of ‘Growth Mindset’ from your course?
  • Revision policy? Resubmit policy? Grading policy? Lateness policy? Late days policy? Dropping a few low grades? Constructive Feedback? Student Self Evaluations?

Pratt Faculty Voices

This is a tough period for everyone, students, faculty, and staff. Thinking about this with a long term view, we want to be able to look back at this pandemic period and not feel a sense of 'lost years' but rather one of 'growth'.

Faculty Member

Without doing this, we run the risk of developing a sense of lament and PTSD from this period. So, I am encouraging myself and my students to think about where they want to be in 3-5 years.

Faculty Member

To promote a 'Growth Mindset', praising the process, students’ effort and individual development over the result is the first thing to do. Thus, my grading criteria which is posted on Canvas announcement page reflects this idea well. And having high, challenging but realistic expectations of students’ performance which can help to fight against Imposter syndrome is another thing that I am implanting into my course system for it.

Faculty Member

Explore the Resources

 

Consider the following Principles of Trauma Informed Teaching.

Principles of Trauma Informed teaching:

Physical, emotional, social and academic safety

Trustworthiness and transparency

Support and connection

Empowerment, voice and choice

Social justice

Resilience, growth and change

Activity

 

Think of some ideas and propose activities for your online or hybrid class that checks at least two of the general principles listed above (principles).

Pratt Faculty Voices

I find humor is one of my best tools - I will be sending a humorous fashion image with a quote from Gilda Radner, " I base my fashion sense on what doesn't itch".

Faculty Member

I plan on incorporating the Critical Response Process as a way to give feedback. I think this will create Empowerment, Voice, and Resilience. I am going to emphasize Step Two: Artist As Questioner.

Faculty Member

I plan to offer multiple ways for students to engage with course content (variety of formats) which will promote empowerment, voice, and choice. I plan to send weekly updates that will promote transparency and help students to stay on track and feel like things are well-organized. I will also have all the course materials uploaded to Canvas so that students can move at their own pace, if-needed.

Faculty Member

 

Quick Links

Explore additional resources on Trauma Informed Pedagogies

Reflection

 

For this final reflection, please consider how you are going to support students’ wellbeing, promote resilience, and practice (some) trauma-informed pedagogies. Also, please consider the same for yourself – what will you do to take care of your own wellbeing, mental health and physical health while teaching online?

Pratt Faculty Voices

 

Responses by Pratt faculty who participate in the RTO