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San Francisco: Teachers being "trauma-informed"; "all the issues kids bring to school"

June 3, 2019, KQED Public Media, San Francisco: Strategies Schools Can Use To Become More Trauma-Informed Many teachers are working to modify their classrooms and schools to offer a more supportive environment for students who have experienced trauma in their lives. They're taking heed of research showing that adverse childhood experiences like poverty, neglect, and exposure to violence affect children's brains and may have a negative impact on learning and behavior. "For me being trauma-informed has so much to do with mindset, accepting that different people come into a school setting with incredibly varied life experiences," said Lindsey Minder, a second grade teacher profiled in an Edutopia video introducing trauma-informed practices. "Some of those life experiences may be traumatic. And the way in which that plays out in my particular classroom could look a number of ways. And by me having that lens it makes it less about are they doing 'the right thing' or the 'wrong thing' and more about, 'where is that behavior coming from? Why is that happening?'" While dealing with all the issues kids bring to school can be overwhelming for teachers, the upside is that they are well positioned to make a big impact on students' lives. Positive relationships with caring adults can help buffer students from the effects of trauma and chronic stress, making trauma-informed schools "healing places."… A formalized teacher practice like this one, with norms that assume the best in students, help school staff work as a team to support students, no matter their needs. Everyone will experience adversity at some point in their life, so while these strategies may be particularly important for students struggling right now, they're also supporting children who will need these skills later in life.


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