Thrilled to make an online presentation today with colleagues Matthea Marquart and Johanna Creswell Báez for the Arizona Department of Education! The presentation is titled “Essential Trauma-Informed Online Teaching Tools.” You can use the link below to download to view or download a pdf of our slide deck.
Call for Submissions
Lessons from the Pandemic: Trauma-Informed Approaches to College, Crisis, Change
Phyllis Thompson, East Tennessee State University
Janice Carello, Edinboro University
We are seeking contributions from researchers, teaching faculty, administrators, activists, counselors, and theorists for a collection of essays on trauma-informed teaching and learning in higher education after COVID/during crisis. While studies abound on trauma-informed approaches for mental health service providers, law enforcement, nurses, and K-12 educators, strategies geared to college faculty, staff, and administrators are not readily available. Since March, with the rapid spread of the coronavirus across the United States and the abrupt shift to online delivery of instruction and remote work, many educators and institutions have become overwhelmed. Tips, tools, and techniques for colleges and college learners are in high demand. This interdisciplinary collection will provide evidence-based approaches to curriculum development, teaching practices, organizational strategies, program administration, and policy revision in higher education that redress the impact of trauma during crisis. The aim of Lessons from the Pandemic is a research-based, practical guide for faculty, staff, and administrators in higher education that cuts across disciplinary boundaries, provides field-tested tools, and offers insights from population groups, especially those already at risk: LGBTQ+ people, non-binary people, people of color, women, people with disabilities, young people and seniors, poor and working-class people, first-gen learners, and others who are marginalized. The intention is to connect trauma-informed principles to practices in higher education. Lessons from the Pandemic joins a conversation in place on campuses across the globe about how we are using what we have learned during COVID to construct a new discourse around teaching and learning during crisis.
We are inviting several types of submissions. Collaborative authorship and multiple submissions are welcomed.
- Narrative Inter Views: Narratives of experience that take up the struggle and success of trauma-informed teaching and learning during the covid crisis (1000-2000 words). Questions to help elicit a narrative are provided on the website.
- Infusing Trauma-Informed Principles: Essays that illustrate one or more trauma-informed principles in practice (2000-5000 words).
- Approaches to Working with Specific Populations: Essays that illustrate trauma-informed approaches to teaching specific populations (3000-5000 words).
- Trauma-Informed Teaching Across the Curriculum: Essays that illustrate trauma-informed approaches to teaching in specific disciplines (3000-5000 words).
- Trauma-Informed Teaching Toolbox: A collection of concrete strategies, tips, policies, practices, assignment prompts, and activities for teaching during times of crisis (400-800 words). These may be tools that are mentioned in the other submission types or separate submissions. Guidelines for tool submission are provided on the Lessons from the Pandemic
Please fill out the submission form on the website and upload the following materials by August 17.
- Brief Description of your Proposed Submission (500-750 words)
- Bio of Author(s), as it would appear in the book (75- 150 words per author)
- CV or resume (for each author)
Please visit the Lessons from the Pandemic website to access the submission form and to upload your proposal: https://sites.google.com/view/lessonsfromthepandemic
Due to the covid-19 crisis, I have been getting more inquiries about trauma-informed teaching in higher education. So I created a video presentation to provide both a general overview of trauma-informed teaching as well as some specific tips and strategies that can be adapted by college educators now and in the future.
In the video, I address the questions listed below. Next to each question is the time stamp for when I cover it in the video in order to help make it easy to locate or return to specific sections.
- What does it mean to be trauma-informed (TI)? 0:01:00
- Why does being TI matter to college educators, especially during times of crisis? 0:09:07
- What does TI college teaching look like? 0:20:42
- What can you do right now to be more TI? 0:29:34
- What can you do moving forward to be more TI? 0:46:33
- Where can one find additional resources for becoming a more TI college educator? 0:57:35
- What are you already doing that’s TI? 1:01:30
You will find links to the resources I mention in the presentation slides. You may need to download the slides in order to use the links. You will find sample policy and assignment wording in the annotated syllabus.
I invite you to share examples of your own TI teaching tips and strategies in the comments. I admire all of the work we are collectively doing to provide spaces for ourselves and our students to learn and grow during this challenging time.
The reminders and tips below are meant to help reduce both instructors’ and students’ stress. These strategies should also help instructors save time and reduce conflict with students. I encourage you to share your tips and reminders in the comments. Be well.
- Keep communications brief. Students are also being inundated with information.
- If you are not already posting weekly announcements and/or module overviews or summaries, now may be a good time to start. This can help cut down on the number of emails sent, create a routine, provide clarification, and foster a sense of connection.
- Reassure students you are there and you care by responding within 48 hours or less to all emails and to all questions they post in “Ask the professor” types of discussion forums.
- Make sure all due dates for the rest of the semester are clear.
- Try to limit the number of course changes.
- Post all changes in writing.
- Strive to keep your courses well-organized. Students who can easily locate course materials and assignments will panic less and contact you less frequently about missing or hard-to-find items.
- Avoid surprises. Now is not a good time to add a new requirement to a module that has already been opened or a new assignment that was not previously listed in the syllabus.
- Consider making all remaining course modules available so students can work ahead if needed. This may also help reduce the need for incompletes.
- Limit feedback on assignments by speaking only to the most important parts of an assignment. This will help you grade assignments in a timely manner and help students focus their learning. If everything is important, nothing is important.
- Consider reducing or eliminating late penalties so you can encourage students to meet deadlines but avoid unfairly punishing those who are unable to do so because of circumstances beyond their control.
- Consider reducing the workload for students and for yourself, if you are able to do so without compromising the course objectives. The quality of learning may increase if the quantity of assignments decreases.
- Consider offering live office hours using a video conferencing platform such as Zoom or Hangouts, if you are not already doing so.
- Provide students with a phone number at which they can leave you a message and call-back number in the event they lose access to the internet.
- Reach out to students who start to fall behind. Call to check on students who go missing.
- Continue to hold high expectations and convey confidence that students will meet their learning goals.
- Remind yourself and students to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
- Practice what you teach with regard to self-care.
- Pay attention to what’s working well.
- You’ve got this.
So what do you do with trauma-informed teaching and learning principles? What do they look like in practice? How do we operationalize them? These are common questions I hear from educators who are interested in becoming more trauma-informed. The principles sound great in theory, but they don’t tell us what to do.
The good news, and the bad news, is that there is no one right way to be trauma-informed. The extent to which teaching policies and practices are trauma-informed is something that educators must evaluate both individually and collectively. Context matters. Experience matters. Resources matter.
It’s certainly possible to provide concrete examples, such as the Examples of TITL in College Classrooms handout on the Resources page (I’ve also just added a color version!). It can also be very helpful to collaborate with others to help learn how to apply the principles to our own practice. When I give trainings, I use norming activities to help educators understand and apply TITL principles.
One norming activity I developed (see TITL Teaching Practices Norming Activity) asks educators to evaluate examples of common teaching practices for their congruency with a trauma-informed approach to teaching and learning. Certainly one could add or substitute teaching policies and practices they found to be more timely or relevant.
Another norming activity I developed (see TITL Student Feedback Norming Activity) uses example of student feedback to help educators understand the extent to which students perceive their teaching and their courses as trauma-informed. This activity uses educator-generated examples, but one could also add examples they encounter frequently.
Both activities are structured similarly. And both activities also invite educators to evaluate congruency with educator authority styles. I will be writing more about complex trauma, authority styles, and their relationship to trauma-informed teaching in the near future. But for now, I will simply reiterate that trauma-informed approaches are largely about how we share power with rather than (unintentionally or unknowingly) wield it in ways that are perceived as harmful to others. Most of us are familiar with the authority styles in the handouts, which is why I chose them. Hopefully those of you who are already integrating information about attachment or authority styles in your trainings will find these resources helpful.
On the Resources page you will find pdf versions of both activities in both color and black and white.
As always, comments, questions, and suggestions are always most welcome.
8.26.20: The norming tools are currently undergoing revisions. I will post again when they are updated.
The title of this post is the first line from the introduction of Trauma and Human Rights: Integrating Approaches to Address Human Suffering, a book I co-edited with Lisa Butler and Filomena Critelli. I’m thrilled to announce that the book is out! And I’m so grateful to Lisa and Filomena, to the many amazing authors who contributed to the book, and to Palgrave for publishing it.
In a couple of weeks I will be presenting a poster on some of my dissertation study findings at the 9th International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health, York, UK.
I’m very excited about presenting some of my research and about learning from colleagues from around the world! I’ve also been learning some new things about technology as I prepare my poster for presentation. I decided to include a QR code (AKA “blob code”) on my poster that would allow folks to easily access a pdf version of it and also provide them an opportunity to check out the other posts and resources on this blog.
Using the QR code generator so far has been super easy. Figuring out how to create a code for a link that doesn’t yet exist has been a bit tricky, however. First I tried adding a pdf copy of the poster to the Resources page and then updating the file, but that didn’t work. Then I tried to link the QR code to the url for this blog post. The problem with this solution was that I also tried to schedule release of the post for the day of the conference. Doing it that way, however, did not provide me with a usable link. So in the end, I decided to make a copy of the poster without the QR code and just put the QR code on the actual poster that I will present.
Whew! There is likely an easier way. But this solution will suffice for now.
So, without further adieu, here is a copy of the Training Triggers poster without the QR code. I’ll update this post with a copy of the QR code after I publish the post and get a working url.
Edit* And below is a copy of the QR code for those interested. I see more experimenting with QR codes in my future…
Does it seem like there’s been a heat wave in your classes lately, and you and your students are mad at or complaining about each other? Or perhaps there’s been a bit of a cold snap, and you and your students haven’t been as engaged in your classes as you’d like? Maybe temperatures have been swinging back and forth between both extremes? Or maybe your classes have been pretty temperate, and you’re interested in learning some new strategies for maintaining an optimal class climate?
Trauma-informed teaching and learning is about improving classroom environments. I invite you to watch the video presentation on class climate I created to help educators a) better understand the relationship between emotion regulation and learning; b) recognize signs of hostile or barren climate (i.e. relationship problems); and c) identify strategies for improving (or maintaining) class climate (i.e. relationship with students).
The video runs just a few minutes over an hour. In the description on YouTube I’ve included time stamps for the beginning of each section of the video in case you care to return to a specific part of it.
Before or after watching the video, you may be interested in using the class climate self assessment tool to help you identify some possible climate problems in your traditional and/or virtual classes. A pdf of the presentation slides is also available and lists references.
I’d love to hear about additional strategies you’ve tried and found successful!
On the Resources page I’ve posted two new trauma-informed teaching and learning tools. The first is a set of questions for educators who are interested in making their traditional and virtual classrooms more trauma-informed. The second is a set of questions for administrators who are interested in developing a trauma-informed program or department.
These tools are designed to help educators assess the extent to which their current policies, pedagogy, and curriculum are congruent with trauma-informed teaching and learning principles. The questions can be used to provide a current snapshot and to track progress over time.
A while back, I created a Kahoot! on Trauma and TIC Basics to help students and trainees define and differentiate some core trauma and trauma-informed care (TIC) concepts. For those unfamiliar with Kahoot!, it’s a game-based learning platform that is accessed on the web via computer, tablet, or smartphone.
In both course and training settings, I use the Trauma and TIC Basics Kahoot! as a kind of pre- and post-test to help students/participants both learn the terms and also assess their learning. The Kahoot! also informs my teaching. I don’t expect every learner will answer every question correctly on the post-test. That has never happened, in fact. However, low question scores let me know which concepts I need to revisit.
I was a bit worried at first that adult learners would object to using a game platform; however, so far every audience I’ve tried it with has responded enthusiastically. I’ve used it successfully in both individual and team format. Team format is helpful when some learners don’t have access to a device or would have difficulty using it for this purpose.
I hope you, too, will find this Kahoot! useful and fun. If you do try it out, I’d love feedback. In particular I’m curious about the following:
- In what setting did you use it? (e.g. personal use, MSW course, counselor training, educator training)
- How’d it go?
- Are there other terms you’d like to see included?
- Would you be interested in a post (maybe a video?) in which I explain the terms/answers?
And, of course, I’d be interested to hear other thoughts you’d be willing to share.