Tag Archives: trauma

Reflecting on the Journey: Final Project Ideas and Beyond

Hey all! 

As we stand near the semester’s conclusion, it’s both a reflective and anticipatory moment. The journey we’ve collectively undertaken in our graduate course has been of intellectual exploration and growth. As we approach the final group project, I am excited by the diverse and imaginative ideas many of you have suggested for the group project. 

In these final weeks, the spotlight falls on our final group projects, innovative endeavors that encapsulate not just the knowledge we’ve acquired but the spirit of collaboration and creativity that defines our cohort.

Although I missed class last week, I looked over the workshop brainstorming notes from the previous class. I was excited to see that we all have a connection with the most exciting ideas, the learning outcomes, and how we can make this group project count in a meaningful way that matters most to each of us individually. I recognized the profound connections with the themes we’ve explored in class: Identity, Multiculturalism and multilingualism, AI, Voice, Healing, Trauma and writing, and Pedagogy of the oppressed. These thematic intersections provide a wide-array framework for our project, ensuring that it aligns not only with our collective interests but also a pathway for creating something that resonates on a personal and profound level. 

As I consider how we can make this project impactful, I find myself driven by a desire to venture into the creative realm. I envision crafting a project that transcends the typical academic endeavor, a work that involves both academic exploration and personal, creative growth. This project represents an opportunity to generate content worthy of inclusion on my CV, portfolio, or website, serving as a testament to my academic proficiency and ability to engage with thought-provoking themes in a creative manner.

I enjoyed reading through everyone’s final project suggestions. I thought Michael’s idea of creating a curriculum was creative and innovative. It presents an opportunity for us to apply the readings to theoretical concepts we studied throughout the semester in a practical and impactful way. Crafting a curriculum becomes a channel for our understanding of writing pedagogy, theory, and creative expression into a dynamic learning experience. 

I also enjoyed Fran’s suggestion of writing a fictional story inspired by a real-life struggle that we have encountered, then giving our story to a classmate who will read it, digest the emotional appeal, and then write a poem that reflects the emotions they had felt while reading it. 

The idea of swapping papers and having a classmate respond with a reflective poem introduces an outsider’s perspective. This element of the project encourages a mutual exchange of empathy and understanding. As writers, we often get absorbed in our narratives, and having someone else articulate the emotions they felt while reading our stories can offer new perspectives and illuminate aspects of our struggles that we might not have recognized.

The incorporation of poetry as a response adds a layer of artistic expression. Poetry has a unique ability to distill complex emotions into concise and powerful language. The poems generated through this project will serve not only as reflections of our classmates’ emotional responses but also as creative pieces in their own right, offering a different medium through which to explore and communicate the shared human experience.

This project aligns with the goals of our writing and theory course by integrating theoretical concepts into a practical, creative context. This idea is a meaningful and holistic exploration of personal narratives and creative expression. It has the potential to deepen the understanding of ourselves, and the powerful connection between writing, theory, and the human experience.

I’m open to exploring any additional final project ideas that may arise, and I’m excited about working on this group project with all of you!

Trauma Informed Pedagogy & Theories of Care for Learning in Community

Photo by Recep Tayyip EROĞLU on Unsplash

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.

Forgive and forget but your scars will remember

Joyce Dorado & Vicki Zakrzewski How to Help a Traumatized Child in the Classroom resonated with me greatly. In my personal life and in previous classes I have not been shy to express my dislike of children and of teaching them. HOWEVER! Children are innocent, and their job until they become adults is to [safely] experience life and find the path they wish to pursue. (and now the sad part) traumatic experiences in the developmental years of children are moments that will scar especially ones occurring at home, the place your suppose to be safe.

Dorado & Zakzewski speak on Complex Trauma [repeated & prolonged exposure to traumatic situations especially in care-giving situations] and make such an impactful analogy of a vinyl record with a scratch running deeper than its grooves. This analogy goes deeper than that paragraph delves. A scratch in record is essentially permanent. Like scars, whether mental or physical, they are ever present. The only difference is children can heal with proper resources and the guiding hand of others. Which leads into my favorite part of this article.

Strategies for teachers

I cant express how relieved I was when I saw this section. Many articles will bring an issue to light, make a call to action, and seldom give advice on how to do so, even on how to begin! But this one actually had advice on what to do! I love it! i wont go into complete detail on all of them, just the three I feel are the most most most most most important.

  1. Recognition: being able to recognize when a student will enter a “survival mode” fight or flight. Recognizing the signs of it is important to intervene before things get worse. This will also create a trust between educator and student.
  2. Praise publicly and criticize privately: The way I felt this section in the deepest core of my soul. I’ve had teachers call me out for poor work in middle and high school and the shame and embarrassment that surged through me was unholy. So nurturing these children and doing exactly what the title says.
  3. Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself.
    how can educators ever begin to help students if they themselves haven’t healed from trauma. You cant save someone from drowning if your 6 feet underwater. Dorado & Zakzewski link an incredible article which speak on this more thoroughly.

The Body Keeps Score

Oh boy does it ever. The section given of this book elucidated the grasp trauma has on our memories. on page 177 it mentioned a case study of WWII soldiers recalling memories. The soldiers without them altered memories given in early statements while the ones who suffered PTSD did not. Trauma having such roots in our psyche that not even time can warp it. On the very next page it states “the more adrenalin you secrete, the more precise your memory will be” to a point. A breaking point.

Small Trauma Dump

I’ve dealt with loss, violence, betrayal, etc. and unfortunately (for me) I’m a very reserved person. I internalize a lot of things, keep them close to the chest. I always hold back on sharing personal strife, probably has something to do with my childhood. (Thanks Freud, somehow this is your fault. lets not delve too far into it. seems more like a conversation for therapy 😅) what got me out of this maelstrom in my high school years was High school English teacher Mrs.DiSarro. Her classroom door was always open to her students, we were free to borrow books from her Bookshelves. She even figured out I wanted to study English before I had told anyone, when I was helping my classmates with the interpretation of colors in the texts we were reading. One of her classrooms “Do Now” was to write about the daily prompt in a composition notebook and hand it in after class. It was my favorite part of the Part of my dreadful school days. I felt such an appreciation for her I even made a wooden bathroom pass for her classroom, [hope she still has it]. Just having an educator make a safe space for you to be in, to relax, to escape to heal.