Resources for Educators

Teaching Tip

From the Teacher’s Aide Newsletter

2010 Autumn

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.