Policy Brief Discussion 2: Trauma and Resilience

Illness vs. Wellness? Trauma-informed educational training

In attempts to educate admins, teachers, and students about the impact of trauma on learning, I've had mixed responses. Admins/some teachers tend to view a "trauma-informed" models (Sanctuary, trauma-education, reflective supervision) as focused on "illness," making excuses for poor behavior, and stigmatizing. Other teachers are more open, and during training, one can see the "light bulb" moments happening for them - how impactful the hyper-aroused, stressed brain is on the ability to learn/regulate. These teachers are open to classroom trauma-training for their students (symptoms/impact on learning, how to recognize when body is stressed, how to de-escalate the stress response, safety cards, etc.). Students as a whole are very receptive and amazed by the workings of the brain, and relieved to know that they are not simply being defiant, lazy, or poorly behaved. Challenge: Suggest positive language to promote trauma-informed school practice as a strengths-based model, without creating an atmosphere of stigma and "sickness."