I chose to do my blog on students who have suffered childhood trauma and the effects it has on their development. I chose this topic because it’s a very important subject to be knowledgeable on as an educator. While in Beloit, I was able to see a large population of students who have been impacted by childhood trauma. One of the biggest things you can do as a teacher to help a student who has suffered from trauma is provide a safe learning environment. An example of the effect of childhood trauma is that “children may not recognize familiar adults as being associated with safety.” (Alison B, Fries, and Pollak, 2017).
As an educator, I feel in order for learning to occur my students must feel safe and comfortable around me. I understand this may be difficult for a student who has been a victim of abuse, but letting students know you are there to help them is the first step in building their trust. As we discussed inside of our class there are many different strategies you can employ as a teacher to make a student feel more comfortable inside of your classroom. The first step is making sure your entire class understands what your classroom expectations are.
Next, it’s important to think out your seating arrangement. This often is a great way to accommodate the needs of different students. For example, a student who has suffered from domestic abuse may not feel comfortable sitting next to a louder student. To better acclimate the student you could ask if there is someone they would feel most comfortable sitting next to, or you can pair them next to a more reserved student.
As an educator, I believe it’s very important to keep an open frame of mind in regards to why a student may exibt a certain type of behavior. I feel it’s important to connect with your students and attempt to find out why they behave a certain way before jumping to conclusions. I firmly believe that as a teacher, it’s your job to accommodate to all learners.
According to recent studies, “child abuse has a significant negative effect on cognitive performance” (Mert, Kelleci, Yildiz, Mizrak, and Kugu, 2016, pg.150). As a teacher, it is our responsibility to supply struggling students with resources that will provide them with an opportunity to catch up with their learning peers. There are many ways we can accomplish this. One way is to supply students with your office hours, planning periods, or times before and after school that you are available to offer additional assistance. By giving students an opportunity to seek extra help, it provides a resource when help from home or tutoring is not an option. As we discussed in class, many students who do struggle don’t have the resources outside of school to get help if they get stuck. Not having support when you are confused can have a huge impact on motivation. Being available to students gives them an opportunity to take control of their education and increases their odds of academic success. Also, by having my door open, I hope it will allow students to trust me as an adult resource.
Next, I feel it’s important as a teacher to find the root cause of a student’s behavior rather than just focusing on effective forms of discipline. In order to stop a behavior you must first determine what is causing it. Constantly reprimanding a student doesn’t fix the problem it’s just a temporary Band-Aid solution. There are many factors that influence a behavior, “psychological abuse has been linked to low self-esteem; hostility and higher aggression; anxiety, depression, interpersonal sensitivity, and dissociation, and shame, and anger.” (Alecis kennedy, 2009, pg. 77). Lots of times teachers take students misbehavior too personally which causes them to have a negative association with that student. It’s important to keep in mind that in most cases you are not the real source of the student’s problems.
During my time at Beloit, I noticed this trend among students who came from abusive homes. One student would constantly kick his classroom aide throughout the day because of the anger issues he had. As a teacher, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to ignore that kind of misbehavior but it was crucial for the child’s development. If the teacher were to discipline the child every time he kicked, there would be no way for that child to have an opportunity to learn because they would constantly be in trouble. So instead, the teacher had to ignore the behavior and try to understand what was causing the child to act out. By understanding the child’s home environment, the teacher was able to figure out trigger points. Strangely, certain things such as praising the child would set him off.
As seen in the reading, “emotional abuse inflicted by parents may relate to hostility in the victims specifically because victims develop a sense that other people do no value them or are unlikely to be kind” (Alex kennedy, 2009, pg. 77). By the teacher discovering the child was emotionally abused at home, he was able to understand that when he would praise the child he felt as if he was being lied to. This would then trigger the child to verbally or physically attack his teacher. These experiences along with this assignment has allowed me to understand the importance of finding the reason behind a student’s classroom behavior.
Kennedy, M. A. (2009). Child Abuse. In D. Carr (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the Life Course and Human Development (Vol. 1, pp. 75-79). Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved from http://libproxy.uww.edu:2633/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=h2o&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CCX3273000031&asid=8e6ca777c7c9195bd6456d8d11effbab
Mert, D. G., Kelleci, M., Yildiz, E., Mizrak, A., & Kugu, N. (2016). Childhood trauma and general cognitive ability: Roles of minimization/denial and gender. Psychiatry Research, 243147-151. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2016.02.025
Wismer Fries, A. B., & Pollak, S. D. (2017). The role of learning in social development: Illustrations from neglected children. Developmental Science, 20(2), n/a. doi:10.1111/desc.12431
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