By Michael Staton, Clemson University College of Education, November 18, 2019
When students arrive at school, they don’t check their trauma at the door or ignore it. Considering the effect trauma can have on student learning, teachers can’t choose to ignore it, either. Trauma leads to learning problems, lower grades, suspensions, expulsions and even long-term health problems.
Teachers are increasingly expected to identify and work with issues students bring to school, and based on related statistics, they need to be ready to address trauma in the classroom for the sake of student learning and well-being. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than two thirds of children reported at least one traumatic event by age 16. These include psychological, physical or sexual abuse; community or school violence; domestic violence; assault; or the sudden or violent loss of a loved one.
Is student trauma an important issue for educators?
Rachelle Savitz, assistant professor at Clemson University, said gaining the tools to address trauma among students should be a high priority for educators. Luckily, teachers have resources to which they can turn in order to learn best practices in addressing trauma in the classroom.