Resources for Educators
From the Teacher’s Aide Newsletter
Tips for Discussing Trauma Issues in the Classroom
Be reassuring, frank, and practical when dealing with trauma topics. No subject is off-limits. This helps students feel safe and less isolated. Keep your boundaries. Discourage any attempt by some students to turn you into an instant psychotherapist.
- Don’t be shy about exaggerated body movements or facial expressions when describing some event or accident, especially if you are a born comedian.
- Tell appropriate stories from your own clinical and classroom experience. Avoid stiff textbook “theory.”
- Encourage students to share their own family experiences of natural disasters or war or unemployment, loss of a sibling, etc, as this sharing can be an invaluable learning experience for other students.
- Incorporate a lot of group movement, Qi-focusing exercises and paired stretches. This helps keep healthy Qi flowing in the room.
- Use different areas of the room for different activities, group or mini-group discussions, or take everyone outside for a blast of fresh air or a picnic lunch. Students get very uncomfortable and restless if they just sit in one position.
- Keep observing each and every student for any sign of fear or a sudden meltdown. If you sense something is brewing, call a quick break and talk to the student in a quiet, private corner. Encourage the student to view any reaction as an invaluable learning experience for her or himself and for future clients.
- In the concluding circle, encourage each student to share the most valuable points learned during the day on a personal level, and for their future clinical practice.