Last night on Twitter, I saw this post:
I have been meaning to write more about trauma-informed teaching and the impact of trauma on how the brain learns. That post inspired me to do so.
As I sat down to write this morning, I saw this:
A timely reminder for me and for those of us who choose to write, teach, and talk about trauma.
Before I get to some thoughts on how educators can utilize trauma-informed practices, I also want to mention that there are people working tirelessly to end gun violence in all of our communities. Many of them are calling for widespread protests and school walkouts. I can anticipate a critique of this post that argues that we should use our energy, not on becoming trauma-informed, but on protesting the people and policies that allow trauma to happen in the first place.
I think we need to do both.
Finally, before I get to some recommended strategies, I want to acknowledge that trauma isn't new. What is new is that we know now, more than ever, about how trauma impacts the brain and about how we can best support individuals who've lived through traumatic experiences.
As a new academic year begins, these are my thoughts on how educators in the field of higher ed can integrate more trauma-informed teaching practices into their classrooms.
There is so much outside of our control, but I know that how I choose to teach and treat my students is well within my control. I can choose to become trauma-informed and to use that information in my teaching and my daily life.
One of my hopes for the coming year is that as a community, higher education steps up and begins to take trauma more seriously. Having spoken to several trauma-informed education leaders over the past few months, it is my sense that this work is happening in pockets in our industry, often coming out of schools of social work or counseling at individual institutions. This is good, grassroots work being built from the bottom up. We now need to build on that on a national level. That conversation is taking place right now, so if you're interested, send me an email or tweet and I can add you to that loop.
Thanks for reading.
I write about higher education.