April 12, 2021

5 Easy-to-Implement Trauma-Informed Strategies That Work for ALL Students

(3 Minute Read)

As many students return to in-person learning after an extended period of distance learning during the COVID19 pandemic, the need for trauma-informed practices has become incredibly important. Stress related to the pandemic may impact students in the areas of health, food instability, social isolation, unstable home environment, and connections to protests and violence related to racism. As educators, we often do not know which of our students have experienced trauma or been impacted by pandemic-related stresses, however, we can be sure to reach these students and other students by using trauma-informed practices with ALL students. Here are five easy-to-implement trauma-informed strategies that work for all students!

  1. Provide Choices
  2. Teach Expectations
  3. Teach Social-Emotional Skills
  4. Utilize Visual Supports
  5. Use Positive Messages

Let’s look at these each a little closer. 

1. Provide Choices

For many students, returning to in-person learning means transitioning to a schedule that is more strict, longer school days, and less control over their environment. Providing students with choices can help them maintain some sense of control. 

2. Teach Expectations

Don’t assume that students know how to act. It may be hard for many students to adjust to the expectations of in-person learning and we can support them by explicitly teaching (and reteaching!) them how we expect them to behave.

3. Teach Social-Emotional Skills

Take time to explicitly teach students skills and strategies they need to regulate their emotions and engage positively with others. Teaching social-emotional skills (SEL) allows us to take a proactive, non-punitive approach to supporting behaviors! 

4. Utilize Visual Supports

Visual supports can be used to remind students of expectations (remember to teach them first!) and allow for non-verbal redirection with students. 

5. Use Positive Messages

Recommendations can vary anywhere from 3:1 to 10:1 for the needed ratio of positive to negative comments/messages students receive at school, with the higher end being more supportive of students who have experienced trauma. Regardless of the number of positive comments recommended, all recommendations acknowledge that students need to hear more positive messages at school than negative messages. 

Using these strategies is not just good for all students–it’s good for teachers too! Using strategies such as these can reduce negative behaviors, a common factor related to teacher burnout!*

References

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