Section I: Foundational Principles of Trauma-Informed School Practices

There is an unprecedented outcry among educators for communities to understand the extreme challenges in schools of all socioeconomic levels whereby students are not able to engage in the academic and social demands of the learning environment. We begin our journey by first unpacking the severity of these concerns precipitating our proposition that, in addition to adequately staffed and resourced schools, we need to incorporate a new conceptual lens that accurately identifies the nature of student challenges and effective teaching practices in response.

Chapters 2 and 3 identify barriers and solutions to impaired executive functioning foundational to learning. Here, we introduce trauma-informed conceptual elements by examining how integrated neural functioning is promoted or undermined, what this looks like in our everyday life, and how attunement and mentoring begin to unravel the impact of unmitigated stress and trauma.

Chapter 4 revisits the classroom for a deeper examination of how dysregulated behavior impacts educational settings. It illustrates that a different approach is required to protect all students and the integrity of the classroom, and to prevent educator secondary trauma and burnout.

Chapter 5 identifies best-practices in trauma-informed care, illustrating that regardless of setting, trauma-informed interventions reflect universal best practices to promote resilience over the course of our development. This assures educators that TISP is based on sound research and is a universal design appropriate for all students.

Trauma-informed knowledge invites changes to traditional and postmodern pedagogical practices, placing attunement (Connecting) and mentoring (Coaching) at the core of the learning process.  In response, Section I concludes with the introduction of the Trauma-Informed School Practices Tri-Phasic Model, a detailed description of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions comprising trauma-informed educator competencies. It is designed for use by Regulation and Support Systems responsible for setting competency standards for teacher and administrator preparation programs, including universities revising curriculums to include trauma-informed competencies. Current educators (administration and staff) seeking to develop trauma-informed competencies will also find this document a useful guide. The application of these competencies is detailed in Sections II and III, with this document serving as a reference point along the way.


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Trauma-Informed School Practices by Anna A. Berardi and Brenda M. Morton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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