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What Is Trauma-Informed Pedagogy?

Now that we have an idea of what trauma entails and the incredible impact it can have on both our students and ourselves, let's look at how to address it in the classroom.

"Trauma-informed pedagogy adapts the trauma-informed care framework from health and human services for the practice of teaching" (1).  What we will notice, on reviewing the literature and videos linked below, is this over-arching idea of "humanizing the classroom" and using "warm demander pedagogy".(2) Essentially we need to focus on the building connections with our students and meet them were they are at.  The idea of training them for the real world needs to be adjusted to one of understanding that they are the real world and we need to adapt to their needs. Luckily K-12 has been at this for some time, and we can look to their frameworks and SEL focus for guidance.

Here are some resources that provide an overview and tips for getting started, including this the following video featuring Dr. Mays Imad whose article by the same name is linked below:


Further reading:

Trauma-Informed Teaching & Learning (blog) by Janice Carello, PhD, LMSW - includes example syllabi, engagement tools, and a wealth of resources for instructors in higher education. - Michelle Pacansky-Brock's blog on Humanizing the Classroom

Trauma-Aware Online Teaching (slides and shared Google Doc from session) by Karen Costa

Trauma-Informed Pedagogy, episode of Tea for Teaching podcast, featuring Karen Costa

Trauma-Informed Practices for Postsecondary Education: A Guide PDF 

Teaching During a Pandemic: A Model for Trauma-Informed Education and Administration article

A Trauma-Informed Approach to Building College Students' Resilience

Five Ways to Support Students Affected by Trauma article

Pedagogy of Healing: Bearing Witness to Trauma and Resilience, by Mays Imad

The Missouri Model for Trauma Informed Schools



1. Zingarelli-Sweet, D. (2021, June 22). Keeping up with . . . trauma-informed pedagogy. Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL).

2.Pacansky-Brock, M. (2021, January 3). Humanizing - start. MICHELLE PACANSKY-BROCK.

Trauma Informed Care Resources: Trauma Pedogogy