Cultural Competency Resources

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Call to Mind: Spotlight on Childhood Trauma

According to the website, Call to Mind is an initiative by MPR to inform and generate conversations about mental health. This podcast explores the impact of childhood trauma on mental health and suggests ways to build resilience in children. The impact of childhood trauma on adults is applicable to ABE practitioners.

How Trauma Impacts the Brains of Adult Learners

As the author explains, "As designers and facilitators of learning in higher education, in the workplace, or in change efforts with social service consumers, it can be critical to our practice to understand the broad impact of trauma on the brain and its wide reach across the diverse array of adult learners we serve. First, we must understand the impact of trauma on the brain."

I Didn’t Know It Had a Name: Secondary Stress and Educators

From the article: "Whether you’re a teacher, paraprofessional, counselor, or school resource officer, every staff member cares deeply about students. And that means being exposed to the traumas students bring into school every day, including poverty, grief, family problems, racism, drug abuse. Even if they have not endured trauma themselves, educators can begin exhibiting symptoms similar to those of their students – withdrawal, anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue."

Make Your Learning Environment Safe and Productive for Trauma-Impacted Learners

The author explains, "Because one-third of adult learners are trauma-impacted (Perry, 2006), designers of learning, teachers of social service consumers, home visitors, coaches, and college faculty must be equipped with strategies to help these learners relax their vigilance and free up psychological energy for learning. One place to start is by creating safety, predictability, and consistency through classroom structures and processes."

Reducing Stress and Promoting Mental Health in the ABE/ESOL Classroom

The ideas in this resource were developed through the Managing Stress to Improve Learning project at World Education in Boston, MA. The project was informed throughout by trauma-informed practice and recent research on how the brain is affected by chronic, toxic stress. The authors have tried here to include very practical, hands-on approaches to help teachers practice— proactively and responsively—creating safe and stable learning environments where students can manage their stressors and persist in their learning goals.

Refugee and International Health – MN DHS

This MN Department of Health website contains descriptions of trainings on refugee resettlement offered by the MN DHS, as well as links to informational resources on refugee resettlement in Minnesota and the U.S.

SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach

The authors explain, "The purpose of this paper is to develop a working concept of trauma and a trauma-informed approach and to develop a shared understanding of these concepts that would be acceptable and appropriate across an array of service systems and stakeholder groups.... The desired goal is to build a framework that helps systems 'talk' to each other, to understand better the connections between trauma and behavioral health issues, and to guide systems to become trauma-informed."

Secondary Traumatic Stress and Self-Care Packet

Educators, counselors, and other support staff who work with students exposed to trauma are at risk of being indirectly traumatized as a result of hearing about their students’ experiences and witnessing the negative effects. In the first section of this packet, learn about secondary traumatic stress and related conditions; in the second section, use the tools and strategies provided to help you create individual and schoolwide plans to promote staff self-care and resilience.

Self-Care Wheel

This infographic provides teachers with concrete examples of ways that they can incorporate self-care in the areas of psychological, physical, spiritual, personal, professional, and emotional.

Stress Reduction in the Adult Basic Education Classroom

Teachers recognize the value of their classrooms as safe venues for adults to practice healthy coping skills and to develop supports, but they are not always comfortable knowing how to respond to the emotional needs of students. While teachers are not therapists, they can be educated in approaches that promote emotional and psychological well-being, and incorporate strategies into the classroom that help students to learn more efficiently.

Taking Care of Yourself: A Checklist

This checklist outlines the three basic aspects of self-care – awareness, balance, and connection – and offers a list of ideas for self-care strategies to use after a difficult event. As the resource indicates, "There are several ways you can find balance, be aware of your needs, and make connections. Use this list to help you decide which self-care strategies will work for you."

Teaching ABE Students About Mental Health

This virtual workshop is provided by PANDA - Minnesota ABE Disability Specialists. Workshop participants will reflect on questions regarding teaching ABE students of all levels about mental health and common mental health concerns. Participants will also review "What is Mental Health?" and "Common Mental Health Concerns" lesson plans and resources to consider uses within their own contexts.

Trauma and Learning: Impacts and Strategies for Adult Classroom Success

Exposure to potentially traumatic events, which can have a significant impact on brain mechanisms for language learning, is high in adult ELL classrooms. This article outlines strategies that target attention and memory networks which may make it easier for adults to learn.

Trauma-Sensitive Schools Training Package

According to the website: "The Trauma-Sensitive Schools Training Package offers school and district administrators and staff a framework and roadmap for adopting a trauma-sensitive approach school- or districtwide. The Training Package includes a variety of resources for educating school staff about trauma and trauma-sensitive practices and for providing school leaders with a step-by-step process for implementing a universal, trauma-informed approach using package materials."

Understanding Refugee Trauma: For School Personnel

Trauma can affect a refugee child on an individual, classroom, school, and family level. The considerations and recommendations in this handout can easily be applied to an ABE perspective.

Understanding Trauma: Learning Brain vs. Survival Brain

This short video reframes trauma in the classroom in terms of "learning brain" versus "survival brain" as a way to make it easier for teachers think and talk about trauma with students.

When Students Are Traumatized, Teachers Are Too

Trauma in students’ lives takes an emotional and physical toll on teachers as well. In this article, experts weigh in on the best ways to cope.