Keeping Students Safe and Feeling Safe

The last STS1 lecture of the semester, Early Childhood Trauma Experience and Learning, was a timely reminder that the students we will be teaching have many previous experiences, and not all positive. Some students may have experienced trauma in their lives. The trauma may not be recent, and the effects of the trauma on the student may not be immediately noticeable. However as covered in the lecture, the brain views any new stimuli as a possible threat and result in a stress response until proven safe (slide 16). This response is heightened in students who have experienced trauma during early childhood. It is therefore important to provide environments that not only are safe, but feel safe for the students (What do my students need from me?).

This reminded me of Kerry’s discussion of milieu, or the general classroom atmosphere, at the beginning of the semester. PPLE tutorials have provided many examples of activities we can use to help create classroom community of learners (a positive milieu), rather than room of disconnected individual, such as circle time, Think-Pair-Share and three-minute writing. PPLE has also emphasised the importance of good pedagogy (and STS1 topic) in preventing behaviour management issues. Sue Packer’s lecture also emphasised how important it is to have knowledge of the way the brain develops in childhood and adolescence, a topic covered in Education Foundations.

I am seeing the links and connections between these discrete units, and how the theories and techniques learnt in the different units are combining to inform our teaching practice.

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