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ERIC Number: EJ1218755
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
Teaching in a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom: What Educators Can Do to Support Students
Jennings, Patricia A.
American Educator, v43 n2 p12-17, 43 Sum 2019
The first step in providing support to children and teens exposed to trauma and adversity is helping them to feel safe at school and demonstrating alternative working models of relationships. By spending time in a supportive classroom, students can learn that school can be a safe place, and that teachers and peers can be caring, thoughtful people who are supportive and have their best interests at heart. Under these conditions, the school and the people in the school can serve as alternative attachment figures. In this article, which is excerpted from a book written by the author, "The Trauma-Sensitive Classroom: Building Resilience with Compassionate Teaching," how to build caring relationships with trauma-exposed students is explored, along with how to help them build positive relationships with their peers. Trauma-exposed students may interfere with classroom learning, which can be frustrating. Helping them can be particularly challenging because they may have difficulty trusting peers and adults, especially authority figures. They may be overly defensive, anticipating adult criticism, or defiant, as a way to assert control. Because trauma interferes with the development of relationship skills and emotion regulation, they often find themselves in conflict with peers, either victims or perpetrators of bullying. Educators also need to be aware of children who tend to dissociate and become invisible as a way to cope in social situations, leading to social isolation.
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4420; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A