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Technical Assistance Bulletin: Trauma-Informed Classrooms

NCJ Number
Date Published
32 pages
This paper defines the objective, features, and implementation of a trauma-informed classroom.
For the purposes of this paper, "trauma" is defined as "any event that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful, because the individual perceives his life or the life of someone he loves as threatened." The range of student responses to traumatic life events varies, based on individual and environmental factors. The goal of a trauma-informed classroom is to infuse an understanding of the impact of trauma and adverse life experiences on students into the classroom culture and promote a physically and psychologically safe environment to foster student growth. The individual and environmental factors that foster resilience and recovery from trauma are internal and external resources that help youth who have experienced trauma. Examples of such resources are discussed, with attention to features of a classroom that may either trigger or heal a student's trauma. The topics discussed include creating and maintaining safety in the classroom, identifying the level of need among students, and creating a system for using this information to develop a more psychologically safe environment in the classroom. This involves ensuring physical and psychological safety for all students, which means providing effective trauma-informed discipline practices while cultivating a learning environment. Specific ways to do this are discussed in this paper.

Date Published: January 1, 2017