University of St. Thomas Magazine Fall/Winter 2020

help), it also can make a difference in other areas of the educational system.

Sommers, assistant professor and program director of educational leadership, said one of the values of the course is being able to recognize when behavior is trauma related. When you’re able to recognize trauma, a more empathetic response and appropriate strategies could be used instead of writing it off as simply bad behavior.

“Sometimes when parents come to school, it’s the first time they’ve been back since they were a child,” Campbell said. “If they had negative experiences, imagine how triggering that is as an adult. If all

educators learn how to de-escalate situations and understand what

One of the biggest takeaways for teachers in K-12 and in higher education is to be aware of how trauma responses are physiological, said Trout, associate professor of teacher education. “Students will move into the fight or flight mode,” Trout said. “And it’s really difficult to expect them to talk or think rationally or logically about what might be happening in

“ We’re looking to support the whole person by infusing trauma-informed care into how we prepare educators and leaders in both K-12 and higher education.

trauma-informed care is, then they

would do a better job communicating not only with the students in their class, but with the parents as well.”

Trauma-informed teaching also has the potential to

retain teachers in the profession by helping them become well prepared and better equipped to deal with issues as they arise.



that exact moment. Helping education professionals to ask the question of what might have happened in this person’s life to cause this trauma, as opposed to, say what is wrong with this person? And why don’t they just do what they’re supposed to do like everybody else right now? “Trauma-informed education can give us names for some of these behaviors and highlight those that don’t make sense,” Trout added. “Instead of just crossing a person off, try to honor that they are here as a product of the many experiences they’ve had, just as I am the product of all the experiences I’ve had in my life.”

“Teachers are extremely stressed and overworked,” Campbell said. “Sometimes they don’t always understand why someone might get really upset. If educators have a better awareness of what they’re saying and doing, they can calm down the situation and proactively stop it from escalating in the first place.” Trauma responses are physiological The CAPE course, Becoming Trauma-Informed: A Primer for Educators, focuses on several areas including toxic stress, neuroscience, resiliency and the importance of prevention. Open to educational professionals, it aims to help them recognize behaviors and apply intervention strategies.

4 2

F A L L / W I N T E R 2 0

Powered by