Cultural Competency Resources
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.
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."
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.
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.
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."