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School of Education, Northcentral University
TRA-5100v1: Fundamentals of a Trauma-Informed Approach to Education
Professor Jeff Noe
December 7th, 2022
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Glass et al. (2020) proposes that trauma affects over two-thirds of the American children population; and estimates that one-third will experience numerous, often prolonged, traumas such as child maltreatment (or domestic violence; child neglect; emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. However, extensive efforts to effectively treat and identify the potential negative and long-term impacts of such experiences are lagging far behind; research connecting the longitudinal effects of childhood trauma to the later development of adult pathology expands across multiple professional disciplines (Glass et al., 2020). This raises the question of how these adverse health outcomes are connected to adult behaviors.
More About Trauma
Trauma can affect students in some shape, form, or fashion who experience it. However, most individuals that have not experienced trauma do not process or comprehend that trauma behavior plays a huge role in the life of an adult when it stems from childhood. One misconception is that most childhood trauma topics are viewed as being too sensitive to discuss and should be left behind closed doors, so to speak (Giesbrecht et al., 2010). For example, students who experience childhood trauma are not directly affected; in all actuality, those same students carry that baggage with them in adulthood (Giesbrecht et al., 2010). Another misconception is that students who experience trauma do not display negative behaviors, but that is not the case when these same students as adults show signs of complicated morality, such as cheating and lying; this is because the trauma has been bottled up for so long and distracts the student’s now adult’s brain and nervous systems; it affects the day-to-day activities, thinking and emotions (Giesbrecht et al., 2010). It is those misconceptions that pique my curiosity.
Resources to Grow my Understanding
I think the first place to start is with the right professionals. What better than to use mental health professionals as a resource. They have the knowledge and expertise to provide various resources to assist schools. For example, helping traumatized students have a voice in the classroom to learn; they can give presentations and trainings, do evaluations and testing, participate in consultants about individual children/adults, and they can consult with and provide clinical support directly to teachers (Kanno & Giddings, 2017).
Knowledge to Help Others
Teachers have a job to help students learn, which is why addressing their students with trauma is so important, but each child is different, and each situation is different. The same can be said for adults. Through research and inquiry, it is essential to be consistent, set expectations, be truthful, respond with compassion, and know I will not have all the answers. My job is to help my students achieve and grow, but they cannot do this until they feel safe and learn to control their toxic stress and behavior. There are already tools in place, such as being consistent with expectations, compassion, self-care, and school-wide resources. I cannot solve all the problems, but I need to use my knowledge to get trained to assist in helping students and possibly adults receive the help they need. Raising awareness on the topic of trauma through workshops and what signs to look for is something else I am considering.
· Can childhood trauma change a person’s personality? If so, how?
· What causes childhood trauma?
· Which intervention tools are mainly utilized regarding childhood trauma?
· Which intervention tools are mainly utilized regarding for adults experiencing trauma?
· Can students and adults fully recover from trauma?
· How can trauma from early childhood affect the student throughout young adult life and beyond?
· What are the implications for the role of parents regarding childhood trauma?
· What tools and interventions can school staff use without being properly trained?
· What looking at childhood trauma, what is the first thing to address?
· What other steps are necessary if a student does not recover from childhood trauma?
All students have a right to access their learning environment, which can help them to keep their tempers in check so that they can form positive relationships with others, learn how to solve conflicts amicably, and become effective learners so that they can grow up in our society take their rightful place as productive citizens. Within a democratic society, no student or group of students should be dismissed or disregarded just because they have faced overwhelming terror or stress in their lives. These same students need access to school resources to assister-engaging with the environment around them.
Giesbrecht, T., Lynn, S. J., Lilienfeld, S. O., & Merckelbach, H. (2010). Cognitive processes, trauma, and dissociation—Misconceptions and misrepresentations: Reply to Bremner (2010). Psychological Bulletin, 136(1), 7–11.
Glass, N. E., Riccardi, J., Farber, N. I., Bonne, S. L., & Livingston, D. H. (2020). Disproportionally low funding for trauma research by the National Institutes of Health: A call for a National Institute of Trauma. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 88(1), 25-32. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000002461
Kanno, H., & Giddings, M. M. (2017). Hidden trauma victims: Understanding and preventing traumatic stress in mental health professionals. Social Work in Mental Health, 15(3), 331-353.
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