Weekend Refresher: Responding to Trauma

This repost from Teaching Tolerance seemed like a timely reminder. Are your students showing bad behavior… or reacting to traumatic events? Here are some techniques for responding to trauma:

Establish social and emotional safety in your classroom.

Strategies • Classroom contracts • Explicit anti-bullying or community-building curricula • Timely interventions in conflicts and hurtful exchanges • Teaching and modeling of empathy and active listening skills

Create a behavior-management plan that focuses on positive reinforcement.

Strategies • Implement student-generated agreements and contracts • Adopt “zero indifference” (NOT zero-tolerance) policies • Seek out training in restorative justice techniques • Explore stress-management strategies to diffuse tense situations and help students process feelings in the moment • Give students opportunities to demonstrate their strengths

Increase your self-awareness and trauma competency.

Strategies • Seek professional development on working with specific identity groups • Share support resources with other educators  • Connect with community organizations • Engage in ongoing self-assessment and reflection on your trauma responsiveness

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