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Trauma Informed Educational Practice

Working Definition

Based on the SAMHSA trauma informed definitions, organizations implement trauma informed approaches in their daily work by applying the principles, or the 4 R’s. (Guarino et al., 2009)

Dr. Giocomucci. Trauma-Informed Care: The Four 'R's[YouTube].

Four Rs of Trauma Informed Care: Realize, Recognize, Respond, Resist Re-Traumatization

Image from Franklin County, PA "Trauma Informed Care" webpage, adapted from pp. 9-10 of:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2014). SAMHSA’s concept of trauma and guidance for a trauma-informed approach. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Why It's Important to Student Learning and Academic Success

People at all levels of the organization or system have a basic realization about trauma and understand how trauma can affect families, groups, organizations, and communities as well as individuals in your classroom.

People’s experience and behavior are understood in the context of coping strategies designed to survive adversity and overwhelming circumstance.

(Masselli & Bergan, n.d). 

Classroom Tools

People in the organization or system are also able to recognize the signs of trauma in self or others.

Dr. Fox. Trauma Informed Teaching. [YouTube]. 

Classroom Audit Materials

The educational program, organization, or system responds by applying the principles of a trauma-informed approach to all areas of functioning.

(Trauma Informed Oregon, n.d.)

Theoretical and Evidence-Based Practices

Trauma Informed Leaders/Teachers embody some of the following characteristics:

Emotional characteristics such as:

Humble • Compassionate • Has sense of humor • Vulnerable • Good emotional intelligence • Growth mindset • Patient • Accountable • Creative • Empathetic • Consistent • Curious – asks questions • Transparent • Collaborative • Warm and welcoming • Conscientious of differences • Compassionate • Approachable • Open to feedback • Welcoming • Good listener • Open minded • Dependable • Not inclined toward micro aggression

(Trauma Informed Oregon, 2020Trauma Informed Oregon, 2017)

Required Institutional Supports for Success

Educators, students, and staff who work within a trauma-informed environment are taught to

  • recognize how organizational/teaching practices may trigger & re-traumatize both students and themselves
  • work to create policies to enhance resilience
  • prevent re-traumatization through Trauma Informed Educational Practices | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
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