Rebecca Albert in her article "Getting Curious (Not Furious) with Students" states that even though she is not an expert in trauma relating to children, her experience has helped her "recognize stress and trauma-related behaviors."As a High School teacher, she desired to help students who struggled with their emotions. She advises teachers that when their students behave badly, the teacher has to get curious and not furious; she must not take it personally and react on the basis of anger rather she must respond to the needs of the student.
The teacher must realize that such bad behavior on the part of the students has its roots in "neglect, abuse and violence." She further reveals that traumatic stress can result in " withdrawal or self-injury."
She further explains that modern Neuroscience has found that under constant stress or distress the mind shuts down and the student is unable to perform higher tasks such as "problem-solving and design thinking." The trauma may appear as "defiance or anger", but the teacher should realize that this is not the student's personal choice to act in such a manner.
The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children has found through its research the following advantages of emphasizing trauma-informed education:
Firstly, there is an improvement in academic performance,
Secondly, the there are fewer absences, detentions and suspensions,
Thirdly, it has been found that it reduced stress among teachers and students and there were fewer instances of bullying and harassment,
Fourthly, the teachers experienced better job satisfaction and safety.
She advocates the maxim "Curious-not-Furious" to novice teachers. A teacher who is curious about the reason behind the student's acting out will ask herself the following questions:
What makes the student behave so badly?
What are the factors causing such a behavior pattern?
Is the behavior a result of fear and insecurity?
Is the student lonely, hungry, scared or tired?
Instead of resorting to the traditional disciplinary measures such as detention, rushing to the principal's office or time-out, the teacher should first politely ask the child:
"How are you?"
"Are you okay today?"
"How can I help?"
"Is there anything you would like to talk about?"
It is crucial that we create "classrooms of care". Rebecca states that a classroom should no longer appear "sterile, regimental or threatening." This according to her transforms classrooms into "communities of care, discovery, and learning," for both students and teachers. Instead of reacting to the students' bad behavior, the teacher must respond to the needs of the student, taking an initiative to help the child and reduce her stress. One could have a talk after class, or meet the student counselor. When teachers care for their students, they are rewarded with higher attendance, better grades and more enthusiasm and interest in attending class and the school.
Mike Cornell and Emma Jones are behind the success of Elearning Blog, a blog solely focused on providing free resources and tips for e-learning.