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Ed Week: Intern'l conference on trauma blames poor student behavior on parents

Oct 1, 2018, Education Week: Control, Predictability Can Help Counter Students' Trauma, Research Finds Interventions that help students think flexibly and feel more control over their learning may help counter the effects of disadvantage and trauma, suggests emerging research at the International Mind-Brain Education conference here. More than 1 in 3 U.S. children have experienced at least one major trauma—from abuse or neglect to the loss of a family member to death, prison, or drugs—by the time they enter kindergarten. By the end of their school years, nearly half have had at least one adverse experience. Children who have experienced such trauma are more likely to struggle academically, disengage from school, or show behavioral problems. Sarah Enos Watamura, an associate professor at the University of Denver who studies the effects of stress on learning, argues that schools can better support these children by understanding how problematic behaviors evolve, and how to help children protect themselves in healthier ways than they do now…. For example, neuroscience studies have shown students who have been abused or exposed to violence in their family or neighborhood are more likely to view neutral situations as threatening. In school, this might mean the student is more likely to get into fights or to melt down in response to relatively mild criticism, but in a dangerous or abusive environment, reacting strongly to a potential threat may help children stay safe. Watamura argued that interventions that try to change students' behavior without changing or taking into account their environment are less likely to show long-term results. …

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