The article assigned for class this week discusses the impact of trauma on a child’s ability to learn and how educators can mitigate its effects. Authors, Dorado and Zakrzewski, believe that the result of a child’s behavior is chronic exposure to traumatic events beyond their control. Trauma can cause a child to suffer from other social, psychological, cognitive, and biological issues, making it very difficult for a student to succeed in school. The article discusses complex trauma that occurs through repeated and prolonged exposure to traumatic situations, most of which in a caregiving situation. The authors explain how complex trauma wears a groove in the brain and that when something non-threatening happens, it reminds the child of a traumatic incident. Their bodies replay the traumatic reaction, mobilizing them to either run from or fight the threat.
I thought it was helpful that Dorado and Zakrzewski offer strategies to teachers that have students with complex trauma. The first strategy is recognizing when a child is going into survival mode and responding to them in a kind, compassionate way. Second, create calm, predictable transitions. Third, praise publicly and criticize privately, and lastly, adapt to a classroom mindfulness practice that will benefit students’ mental health.
The first strategy, recognizing when a child is going into survival mode and responding to them in a kind, compassionate way, is tremendously important. Traumatized students may exhibit a wide range of behaviors that can be disruptive in the classroom, but teachers need to understand that these behaviors are a natural response to trauma. By responding with kindness and compassion, teachers help create a safe environment for their students and provide them with the support they need to thrive.
The other strategies, such as creating calm, predictable transitions, praising publicly and criticizing privately, and implementing a classroom mindfulness practice, are also incredibly important. These strategies help students feel more secure and comfortable in the classroom, which can lead to improved academic performance and a better overall learning experience.
Overall, this article provides valuable insights into the impact of trauma on student learning and offers practical strategies that educators can use to help students. It’s important for educators to understand the complex issues surrounding trauma and to provide their students with the support they need to succeed in school and in life.