Exploring Canadian educators’ understandings of trauma-informed education

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Bartel, Hannah
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The high prevalence of childhood trauma and its association with negative outcomes has been well-documented within the literature. Trauma-Informed Education (TIE) is a teaching approach where educators learn to understand and recognize trauma, create safe spaces, and foster a learning environment which supports children and youth affected by trauma. Much of the research about TIE indicates that educators’ trauma-informed knowledge and attitudes play a large role in whether teachers adopt a trauma-informed approach. However, the majority of research about TIE has taken place outside of Canada, meaning there is little known about Canadian teachers’ attitudes and knowledge about TIE, as well as the trauma-informed training currently utilized in Canada. Therefore, the current study was conducted to gain a better understanding of these factors. Using responses from 173 teachers across Canada, this study found that 63.60% of the participating educators have experienced formal trauma-informed training, indicating that TIE training is available to educators in Canada, and that many educators are interested in, and receiving, this training. Using Spearman’s rank correlations, this study found that educators with greater trauma-informed training experience show higher levels of trauma-informed knowledge, and those with greater years of teaching experience show more positive trauma-informed attitudes. Further, those who are learning about trauma-informed approaches, whether formally or informally, show more positive trauma-informed attitudes, and greater trauma-informed knowledge. The outcomes of this research contribute to the growing information about TIE in Canada and identify ways to increase the use of TIE in Canadian schools.
childhood trauma, trauma-informed approaches, Canadian teachers, social emotional learning