Educators face many challenges daily. Those instructional challenges increase when they need to overcome non-academic matters. The effects of trauma are more widespread than we believe, so it is vitally important for teachers to create a classroom that supports all students – even those suffering from trauma. This course will help you understand, identify, and respond appropriately to the various types of trauma students may face.
Designing instruction so that students learn and master content is a challenging but rewarding task. The job becomes more daunting as students come to school in various stages of preparedness that include academic gaps, socio-economic struggles, and the effects of trauma.
Whenever the word “trauma” is mentioned, we normally think of a singular, tragic event that involves the need for urgent medical care. But, in the context of schools, does that description truly define trauma? Regardless of how you answered that question, these courses are vital ones for you and your students. The first course focuses on student supports while the second works to increase your professional awareness.
Knowing your students is a vital step to create a nurturing classroom environment; however, that student knowledge is simply not enough. Teachers need to know how the effects of trauma present externally so that an appropriate response can be chosen.
Why are these courses needed?
First, this course is necessary because of prevalence. Students who are suffering from trauma are everywhere in schools and their numbers are higher than we believe. That fact simply needs to be accepted because, far too often, students struggle in silence.
Second, consider these questions:
(1) Can you provide a clear, operating definition of trauma?
(2) What are the four types of trauma a student could experience?
(3) How does the brain react once the “stress cycle” has started?
(4) Which adult responses are best for supporting students that have experienced a triggering event?
This course provides answers – and more – to each of those above questions. The content and design provide you an engaging, on-demand learning experience that is also mobile-friendly.
What Does this Course Contain?
- 5 sections that help you define trauma, explain the stress cycle, and adopt appropriate responses. The content further breaks them apart to help you before, during, and after the student reacts.
- 2 printable resources that you can use in your local context. The first focuses on 8 ways to support student trauma responses. The second is personal to you by retaining your responses to reflection and application questions throughout the course.
- Several checks for understanding to ensure you have mastered the content. For instance, you will be asked to create the right order of the stress cycle. This understanding is foundational for in-the-moment selection of an appropriate response.
- Multiple learning options are provided for you. The pages contain choice in that you can read the content or listen to it on the go.
- 2 videos provide a basic introduction and a specific conclusion for the course itself. You may want to watch that initial and final video before jumping into the course as it gives you a “where you are headed” and a “what you have covered.”
The learning experience and content is pertinent for anyone that has regular interaction with students. This includes all teachers – new, veteran, substitute, and future (e.g., education majors in college). The course is also ideal for school leaders, counselors, and paraprofessionals because of regular and direct interaction with students. The school could even take their support staff – cafeteria and office personnel – through this training because they will encounter students suffering from trauma.
NOTE: this course does include real examples of trauma that students could face, so these examples may be difficult. As such, we wanted to put forward a content warning because of the topic’s sensitive nature.
How Should I Take this Course?
Honestly, you can tailor the experience based upon your needs and desire. The design gives you control and choice over the best way to move forward.
Here are two ways that teachers can take the course:
- Individually – the course is designed where you can finish it all at once (in about an hour) or over a series of sessions. The platform will remember where you left off so that you can immediately resume whenever you have time to return. Because of the subject matter, you could decide to complete the course in several settings.
- Collectively – you could use this course in a flipped, PLC format. Each teacher could work through the content on their own and then come to a PLC to take their learning deeper. This would be ideal in forging specific responses as a team to create a consistent action by the teachers for student benefit.
If you are a school leader, you could assign the course to be completed individually before discussing at a whole-school faculty meeting. For that conversation, you can pull up certain parts of the course to focus everyone’s attention or reinforce learning. The sections that address student triggers and adult responses would be ideal for a staff meeting.
However you choose to move through the course, the critical part is to ensure you apply the learning principles by remembering the Event, Experience, and Effects. These are the 3 foundational elements upon which the entire course is built.