1. Creating a safe and predictable classroom environment.
Create a safe, secure environment by establishing clear boundaries and expectations of student behavior. Ensure consistency in rules and consequences. Provide an organized lesson plan to give students structure and predictability. Utilize calming techniques such as deep breathing, guided imagery, or yoga exercises to help manage emotions during challenging times.
2. Understanding the impact of trauma on social/emotional learning.
Be aware of the signs of trauma and how they may manifest in different students. Understand the need for individualized approaches to teaching and learning that account for each student's unique strengths, needs, and experiences. Be prepared to recognize when a student is struggling with emotional issues stemming from past trauma.
3. Incorporating diverse perspectives into lessons.
Build a curriculum that centers and honors the experiences of all students. Use materials, readings, and activities to promote equity and inclusion in the classroom. Encourage critical thinking about different perspectives and encourage discussion about diverse topics.
4. Teaching emotion regulation skills.
Teach students to recognize and manage their emotions. Educate them on how to identify unhealthy coping mechanisms and replace them with healthier alternatives. Model appropriate emotional expression and help students practice using healthy coping skills such as deep breathing, mindful meditation, or journaling.
5. Addressing traumatic incidents sensitively and promptly.
When a traumatic incident occurs, respond quickly and with sensitivity. Make sure students know that they are safe and supported in the classroom. Allow time and space for processing emotions associated with the trauma, while also providing structure to help students maintain focus on their work.
6. Supporting student self-advocacy.
Teach students how to take ownership of their learning and advocate for themselves. Encourage them to set goals, identify strategies for overcoming challenges, and reflect on their progress toward those goals.
7. Building relationships with students to create trust.
Build trusting relationships with students by getting to know them and their individual needs. Spend time listening to their stories and understanding where they are coming from. Show empathy, compassion, and caring to build a sense of safety in the classroom.
8. Establishing clear expectations for behavior.
Set expectations for behavior within a trauma-sensitive framework. Let students know that inappropriate behavior is not tolerated and explain the consequences of such behaviors. Encourage positive behavior with praise and appropriate rewards.
9. Using Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) strategies.
Create a positive classroom culture by using strategies such as Check-ins and Checkouts, Social Stories, and Token Economies. These can help to develop positive relationships between students and staff while also providing structure for reinforcing positive behaviors.
10. Fostering an atmosphere of respect, acceptance, and acknowledgment.
Encourage an atmosphere of respect and acceptance among students and staff. Acknowledge the successes and struggles of each student, celebrate diversity, and create opportunities for meaningful social interactions. Allow time for expressing feelings, values, beliefs, and opinions in a respectful manner.