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5 Ways to Support Children (& Ourselves) in the Wake of Tragedy

When students feel unsafe they don’t learn. So, how can we support students in the face of such global tension? Is there anything that we can do as educators and parents to create a sense of safety?

Absolutely. The same principles for effective treatment and prevention of trauma hold true here. Here are five practices to support your students (and yourself) following a tragic event.

Social & Emotional Learning as Community Organizing

Effective SEL is about so much more than any lesson or curriculum. It is inherent in every interaction in the building and in the very culture of the school. It is not enough for teachers to be bought-in if the school administration does not provide them with the time, coaching, incentive, and support to deliver high-quality SEL instruction. It is not enough to provide high-quality instruction if school culture and discipline practices do not reflect social-emotional competence, or if parents and caregivers are not included in the conversation.

Trauma Informed Teaching Part 4 of 4: The Mindfulness Solution

The simple practice of turning your attention to the present moment – your breath, the sounds you hear, the sensations you feel – can actually physically change the structure of your brain and counteract the effects of stress and trauma in less than 8 weeks. Studies are now revealing that mindfulness-based therapy is more effective than anti-depressants and cognitive behavioral therapy combined in treating PTSD. Even better, the results are permanent as long as participants continue to practice mindfulness in their daily lives

6 Trauma-Informed Mindful Teaching Practices

These 6 teaching tips are simple ways that you can leverage your own mindfulness – your awareness of your internal state and the environment around you – to improve your relationship with your students and enhance your teaching practice.

Trauma Informed Teaching Part 2 of 4: The Fight-or-Flight Response

Teachers and parents are often by perplexed explosive outbursts, emotional volatility, and temper tantrums that seem out of proportion to the actual event. It is important to remember, however, that children (and adults) who have experienced traumatic events are not necessarily responding to events in the present moment.

Trauma Informed Teaching Part 1 of 4: Defining Trauma

Despite the prevalence of trauma, it is a term (along with mindfulness) that is frequently misused or misunderstood in both therapeutic and educational sectors. A deeper exploration of these terms reveals why trauma is one of the most costly and deadly public health concern our society is facing; and how mindfulness is one of the most viable solutions we have.

Mindfulness 101: The What, Why, & How of Mindfulness.

With thousands of scientific articles being published each year on mindfulness, the practical benefits may surprise you. Study after study reveals that mindful breathing and other mindfulness practices are effective methods for increasing positive emotions, focus, memory, attention, and compassion while decreasing stress and negative emotions.

Universality in the Classroom

Irvin Yalom, one of the fathers of group psychotherapy, identified 11 factors that contribute to healing and change in group therapy. Among these are things like group cohesion, catharsis, instillation of hope and interpersonal learning. Though the list goes on, there...

Conflict

Of all the themes that dominate the minds of our middle school students, conflict is high on the list. It is ubiquitous in the halls of any school, and where it doesn't exist it seems our teens are adept at fabricating it from thin air. Some kids even appear to thrive...