Over the past few years, adverse childhood experiences – also known as ACEs – have become more well-known in the child development sphere. ACEs profoundly impact learning and growth because it affects how children process their environment socially, emotionally, and physiologically.
In an effort to make education more effective for those with childhood trauma, many schools are looking to trauma education. Having trauma-informed educators and facilitating training can help to eliminate misconceptions and triggers that occur in daily spaces.
Let’s take a look at some of those misconceptions and how a trauma-informed teacher can help create a secure environment.
What are the common misconceptions about trauma-informed education?
- Trauma-informed education is only about a student’s ACE score
A student’s ACE score is a number out of ten that provides an indicator of different abuse, neglect, and other adverse childhood experiences that they have faced in early childhood. The higher the score, the higher the risk for health problems later in life. Yet, although the ACE score provides a broad understanding of the scope of adversity the child has faced, trauma-informed education does not stop simply at a number.
2. Educators must know a student’s ACE score to successfully intervene
While helpful, it is not paramount to know a child’s ACE score or even specific traumatic experience to begin trauma-informed educational practices. Trauma-informed education is a mindset that seeks to help all children in the classroom regardless of what they’ve experienced.
3. Trauma-informed education is about “fixing” students
Trauma-informed practices are intended to fix broken and unjust structures that alienate and discard marginalized students. Your role as a trauma-informed educator is to support students where they are and to provide a safe and secure environment.
4. Trauma-informed educators don’t give consequences for inappropriate behavior
Trauma-informed education prioritizes clear boundaries and expectations and appropriate consequences that are designed to teach students. When students do not meet expectations or disregard the boundaries you’ve set, it’s not only appropriate but it’s also essential to reteach those expectations. Maintaining consistent consequences is a part of that.
What can a trauma-informed educator do?
Teachers and educators of all kinds are tasked with the role of creating a secure environment. One of the best steps they can do is to undergo trauma-informed training so they can project caring body language and provide healing experiences to the grieving students. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Your students may have unexpected responses. That’s okay – don’t take them personally!
- Learning to behave appropriately is often person-dependent when dealing with an individual affected by childhood trauma.
- Building a relationship with the student is often essential to trauma-informed care and education.
- Promoting predictability and consistency in your classroom are essential.
- Giving supportive feedback to reduce the negative thinking that your students may have can help.
Final thoughts Trauma-informed teachers are critical to the education system. If you’re looking to increase your knowledge and awareness so you can help students with childhood trauma, getting the right training can make all the difference. Contact Derek Clark to speak at your next event, conference, or training here.