In a world increasingly dominated by online learning, teaching trauma-based trauma-informed learning (TIF) is becoming a hot trend.
But as the UK Government and teachers are increasingly relying on social media for teaching and learning, some schools are struggling to make the most of their new students’ new experiences.
Al Jazeera spoke to five trauma-aware teaching teachers to understand the challenges teachers face in the classroom, as well as what can be done to help them become better at teaching TIF.
A new wave of teachers are trying to make a differenceIn the UK, there are now more than 400,000 teachers in the UK.
However, only a tiny percentage of these teachers have been trained in trauma-insensitive teaching.
In a world of increased access to social media and apps, many schools are relying on TIF to teach and learn.
However many of the schools in the report have not been properly trained to effectively support TIF learning.
“It’s not a new trend in teaching, it’s a trend that is growing,” says Dr Sarah R. O’Brien, an associate professor at University College London and former trauma-awareness officer.
“There are a lot of people who are using these apps to teach TIF in schools.
I’m not sure that they understand how to teach it.
So we need to be working very hard with them to make sure they’re trained to help people learn trauma-influenced teaching.”
In addition to teachers, students are increasingly being taught through videos, online lectures and podcasts, with teachers often relying on the apps for this purpose.
But these apps can also have negative impacts on students.
For example, while TIF is a teaching tool, they can be a form of emotional abuse.
“A lot of times it can make people feel isolated and even hurt,” O’Connor says.
“They’re also not necessarily trained to deal with trauma.”
Another concern is that many students are also using TIF as a way to gain more online friends.
This is also an issue with some teachers, as they are also working with a broader range of students and often have to share more than one class.
O’Brien says it is important to ensure the schools and teachers in her own community have the skills to effectively teach Tif.
“We need to work really hard to make that happen, so that all of the teachers, including myself, are able to do our job as best as we can to teach that teaching,” she says.
In addition, O’Connors worries about the potential for the app to become a social experiment.
“As a teacher, I feel that there is a lot more work that needs to be done in terms of socialising students in this way,” she adds.
“It is important that teachers are well-versed in social skills and how they are used to make an impact on students.”
In some schools, teachers are also taking a hands-on approach to the TIF teaching.
However this is only part of the problem.
In many schools, there is no support for students to learn TIF from their own personal experiences.
For instance, there isn’t any support for children to learn about their experiences as a survivor of trauma in the first place.
“This can be really detrimental to a student’s education,” says Raghu.
“It can be very limiting.
A lot of teachers don’t know what they’re doing or don’t understand what they are doing.
If they don’t have a professional teacher in their classroom to support them, it can be incredibly difficult to learn trauma.””
Teaching TIF isn’t for everyone”O’Connor agrees that there are some issues that need to come before teachers can be fully confident teaching trauma based TIF can be safe for children.”
Teachers need to know that there needs to always be someone in the room when it comes to teaching trauma,” she continues.
“And they need to have support from a professional when they are teaching TIFF.”
For me, this is where it’s not so easy.
I am an emotional and very sensitive teacher, and I think the biggest thing is that I am the teacher in the class.
I don’t want to do it for any other people.
“I would like to do this for myself, and it doesn’t have to be for anyone else.
But I think we need more support and guidance for teachers.”
The UK government is investing £5m into this new initiative