Title

Trauma-Informed Pedagogy: A Hidden Dimension of Cultural Competence

First Presenter's Institution

Georgia Southern University

Second Presenter's Institution

Georgia Southern University

Third Presenter's Institution

Georgia Southern University

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Session 2 (Sloane)

Strand #1

Mental & Physical Health

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

This presentation will use the “Heart” of teachers and other school personnel to address the “Health” (both mental and physical) of students. Briefly stated, more than two-thirds of children in schools today have experienced at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). Yet, teachers are largely uninformed of the impact that ACEs have on the lives of children. Our proposed presentation seeks to raise awareness of the need to develop cultural competence (sociocultural and emotional skills) among teachers through Trauma-Informed Pedagogy to help mitigate the damage of ACES on the educational opportunities and lives of children.

Brief Program Description

This presentation will introduce teachers, counselors and administrators to a hidden dimension of culturally competent practice: trauma-informed pedagogy. To meet the needs of the growing numbers of youth who have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma-informed pedagogy is needed.

Summary

The initial study of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and long-term health outcomes revealed that two-thirds of participants reported at least one ACE, 38% two or more, and the higher the ACE score the dramatically poorer the health outcomes (Anda and Felitti, 1998). That’s with a population sample that was predominantly middle-class and college-educated. As one can well imagine, when the sights are set on impoverished communities and Title I schools, multiple ACEs and the associated toxic stress among young people is ubiquitous. The heightened state of arousal that is a typical response to ACEs becomes the norm (Public Health Management Corporation, 2013), and we have a new way of understanding poor outcomes in school and in life (Perfect et al., 2016).

We propose to promote awareness and understanding of the concepts of ACEs and toxic stress and the ways they disrupt the lives and learning of youth. We also propose to issue a call to teacher educators to work to cultivate new habits of cultural competence in the form of trauma-informed pedagogy, or an approach to managing classrooms and framing teaching and learning, that builds upon Bath’s (2008) “three pillars of trauma-informed care”: safety, connections, and managing emotions. We draw from the literature base in public health, social work, neuroscience, and nursing, along with some limited sources from the field of education, to trace out how a trauma-informed perspective affects one’s approach to teaching traumatized youth.

We close the presentation with an overview of ways to promote the practice of trauma-informed pedagogy. We share our model of surveys to assess understanding of the effects of trauma, gauge interest among potential participants to learn more, create professional learning networks (PLN’s) to work collaboratively to share resources and evaluate promising strategies (Baweja et al., 2016), in order to inform opportunities for professional development and integration in teacher education. We also acknowledge the complement to trauma-informed pedagogy, which is to effect “culturally responsive trauma informed schools” an organizational model committed to meeting the needs of students to enable learning (Blitz et al., 2016; Walkley & Cox, 2013).

Evidence

There has been a great deal of research documenting that childhood trauma and stress impact brain development and ultimately can affect cognitive functioning and school performance (Pechtel & Pizzagalli, 2011; Streeck-Fischer &vander Kolk, 2000; Burke, Hellman, Scott, Weems, & Carrion, 2011; Delaney-Black, Covington, Ondersma, Nordstrom-Klee, Templine, Ager, Janisse, &Sokol, 2002). Trauma informed pedagogical practice as discussed in this presentation holds promise for addressing and remediating the academic gaps caused by adverse childhood experiences. As proven treatments in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, and social work (Azeem, Auijla, Rammerth, Binsfield &Jones; Rivard, Bloom, McCorkle & Abramaoviz, 2005; Amaro, Chernoff, Brown, Arevelo, & Gatz, 2007; Huntingon, Moses, &Veysey, 2005). While the application of the principles of trauma informed care is relatively new to the field of education, there has been some evidence that these practices applied in academic settings has positive impact (Stevens, 2012).

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Delores D. Liston is Professor of Curriculum and Foundations at Georgia Southern University. She is author of Joy as a Metaphor of Convergence: A Phenomenological and Aesthetic Investigation of Social and Educational Change, Learning to Teach: A Critical Approach to Field Experiences (with Natalie Adams, Christine Shea and Bryan Deever), as well as Pervasive Vulnerabilities: Sexual Harassment in School and Promoting Social Justice Through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (with Regina Rahimi). She is also LCSW licensed through the State of Georgia.

Amee Adkins is Professor of Social Foundations of Education and serves as the chair of the Department of Middle Grades and Secondary Education at Georgia Southern University. She specializes in studying the relationship between schools and society and how power and identity are negotiated in educational contexts. Additional scholarly interests include educational policy and teacher education.

Regina Rahimi is a Professor of Middle and Secondary Education at Georgia Southern University, Armstrong Campus. A former middle school teacher, her research interests have been related to issues of race, gender and class in the experiences of young adolescents. She is the author of Pervasive Vulnerabilities: Sexual Harassment in Schools and Promoting Social Justice Through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (with Delores D. Liston)

Keyword Descriptors

trauma, trauma-informed care, pedagogy, youth

Presentation Year

March 2019

Start Date

3-4-2019 1:15 PM

End Date

3-4-2019 2:30 PM

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Mar 4th, 1:15 PM Mar 4th, 2:30 PM

Trauma-Informed Pedagogy: A Hidden Dimension of Cultural Competence

Session 2 (Sloane)

This presentation will introduce teachers, counselors and administrators to a hidden dimension of culturally competent practice: trauma-informed pedagogy. To meet the needs of the growing numbers of youth who have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma-informed pedagogy is needed.