Evidence-based, trauma-informed preventative practices that support the wellbeing of trauma-affected students and the educators that work with them.
1. Connection
Establishing positive relationships with students, their families and amongst peers is at the very core of effective teaching and learning. They are crucial as they result in significant improvements in outcomes for students and without them, no intervention strategy implemented will be successful.
2. Collaboration
Work collaboratively with students, parents, colleagues and external agencies. Consider their perspectives and combine individual expertise in order to more effectively support students.
3. Authenticity
Be “real” with students and ensure your words and actions are congruent. Expose your humanness by sharing your strengths, weaknesses, passions and emotions. Be prepared to keep promises, acknowledge you don’t have all the answers, admit mistakes and apologise for any wrongdoing. This helps students to embrace and accept their own imperfections and relate to you better.
4. Safe Spaces
Students cannot learn if they do not feel safe. Therefore it is crucial that you empower students by providing consistency, predictability and opportunities for student voice in the classroom. Be attuned to students’ needs so that you can anticipate any situation they may find challenging and implement alternatives or adaptations. The physical environment should also be considered to ensure it creates a sense of calmness and avoids triggers.
5. Language and Communication
By communicating with students using trauma-informed strategies, you can reduce the likelihood of escalating behaviour and can elicit a calmer response from them. In addition, using trauma-informed language where we refer to students as “vulnerable”rather than “challenging”, enables you to contextualise student behaviour and allows you to foster a more compassionate and supportive response.
6. Build Capacity
Participate in every professional development opportunity available to build your knowledge and skills in trauma-informed practices. Also use a strength-based approach to teaching and learning that develops students’ academic abilities and grants greater access to the curriculum for them.
7. Investigate
Rather than misperceiving students’ actions as deliberate acts of disrespect, investigate possible antecedents and consider what the behaviour is communicating. Once you gain an understanding of the behaviour, you will be able to implement effective interventions that successfully support the student.
8. Wellbeing
We must nurture children’s wellbeing and help them to develop trauma-informed skills and strategies that help them to regulate their emotions, build resilience, and most importantly become good people. This can be achieved by ensuring that social and emotional learning and mindfulness are embedded into the curriculum.