Collective Trauma

We are currently in the early stages of collective trauma on a global scale. Collective trauma is a cataclysmic event that shatters the basic fabric of society and the bonds that bind us together. In addition to the individual harms and loss of life experienced, collective trauma is also a crisis of meaning—our understanding of who we are as human beings, of the fragility of our society, and of how we come together to create a cohesive society.


Collective traumas have happened throughout history and from them we have learned that there is a process that we can engage to ensure that we heal and emerge stronger than before. Dr. Gilad Hirschberger describes the process as one that "begins with a collective trauma, transforms into a collective memory, and culminates in a system of meaning that allows [people] to redefine who they are and where they are going."


The term collective trauma does not merely reflect the fact that a tragic historical event occurred, but also that the event created lasting psychological and emotional wounds affecting entire societies. Healing after collective trauma is about engaging in ongoing processing and reconstruction of our understanding of the traumatic event in ways that help us make sense of it.


Each of us will experience this traumatic event in different ways that will be more or less personally tragic, but we will also all share in a collective memory that is greater than our individual experiences. This collective memory will persist across time and space, will be transmitted to subsequent generations, and will determine the lasting lessons that will be learned. 


Schools are our best social institution that can engage children in an emotionally supportive, informed, and critical processing of this truly once in our lifetime collective traumatic event. It is for these reasons that we are developing the course on Planning for a Trauma Responsive School Re-start after COVID-19


The lessons in the current course on Understanding Trauma and Trauma Responsive Educational Practices will provide you with the foundational knowledge and an initial toolbox of pedagogical strategies that you will build upon on the course focusing on re-starting after COVID-19 school closures. It is increasingly likely that this may not occur until fall 2020, which means that children will have been out of school and in very dysregulating contexts for many months. For this reason, it will be especially important that educators plan to implement trauma responsive practices from day one. 

Understanding Trauma and Trauma Responsive Educational Practices

Cetrificates will be emailed upon course completion.

Understanding Trauma and Trauma Responsive Educational Practices

  • 1

    Course Overview

    • Course Goals And Objectives

    • Welcome message (will be added soon)

  • 2

    Before We Begin

    • Please begin by completing this 15 minute survey to provide us with more information about educators' needs for professional development on trauma responsive educational practices.

  • 3

    Lesson 1: Why paying attention to trauma among our students matters so much

    • We know that our schools provide more than learning

    • 1.1a: "If everything is trauma, then nothing is trauma."

    • 1.1b: A Silent Epidemic

    • 1.1c: Self-Reflection Question

    • 1.2a: Some Children Have a Higher Prevalence of Exposure to Adverse and Traumatic Life Events

    • 1.2b: Further reading on Prevalence of Exposure to Adverse and Traumatic Life Events

    • 1.3a: Attending to Trauma Among Our Students Advances Educational Equity

    • 1.3b: Collective Reflection Question

    • 1.4a: All Behavior is Communication. Are You Open to Hearing What Your Students Are Saying?

    • 1.4b: Challenging behaviors began as functional behaviors

    • 1.4c: Coping Responses

    • 1.4d: The Heart of Learning...

    • 1.4e: Adaptive and Maladaptive Coping

    • 1.4f: Collective Reflection Question

    • 1.5a: Attending to Trauma Will Improve the Outcomes for Which You Are Held Accountable.

    • 1.5b: Falls Hamilton Elementary (Edutopia)

    • Closing Reflection

  • 4

    Lesson 2: Why educators matter so much to the life outcomes of students coping with trauma

    • 2.1a: Trauma Responsive Educational Practices Requires Your Head, Your Heart, And Your Hands

    • 2.1b: Bringing Trauma to School

    • 2.1c: The Educational Experience of Three Youths

    • 2.1d: Self-Reflection On Motivations To Do This Work

    • 2.2a: The Educator-Student Relationship Is A Developmental Relationship

    • 2.2b: The Developmental Relationships Framework

    • 2.2c: Developmental Relationships From The Perspective Of Children And Youth

    • 2.2d: Every Kid Needs A Champion

    • 2.3a: Not Asking Educators To become Counselors, we are asking...

    • 2.4a: Educators Have The Opportunity To Utilize Their Pedagogical Skills Toward Advancing An Instructional Approach To Behavior Management

    • 2.4b: Pendulum Swings Of Education Reform

    • 2.4c: Educator Response To Academic vs. Behavioral Errors

    • 2.4d: Self-Reflection On Students In Your Class

  • 5

    A Moment of Nature's Mindfulness

    • Check in with and take care of yourself;

  • 6

    Lesson 3: What educators need to know about the neurobiology of trauma and how it shows up in students’ behaviors at school

    • 3.1a: Positive, Tolerable, And Toxic Stress

    • 3.1b: Effects Of Stress

    • 3.1c: Collective Reflection: A Moment For Positive Thinking

    • 3.2a: Trauma And The Developing Brain

    • 3.2b: The Biology Of Stress & Trauma

    • 3.2c: The Neurobiology Of Trauma & Dysregulation

    • 3.2d: Understanding PTSD's Effects On Brain, Body, And Emotions

    • 3.2e: Self-Reflection: 3-2-1

    • 3.3a. Individual Differences In Response To Traumatic Events

    • 3.3b: Variation In Intensity Of Response To Potentially Traumatic Events

    • 3.4a: Consequences Of Traumatic Stress

    • 3.4b: Self-Reflection: Who Are The Students Coping With Trauma?

    • 3.5a: Triggers At School And In The Classroom

    • 3.5b: Emotions Begin Driving Behavior Before Rational Decision-Making Begins Processing

    • 3.5c: Identifying Triggers Among Your Students

    • 3.5d: What About Educator Triggers?

    • 3.5e: Identifying Your Personal Triggers

    • 3.5f: Collective Reflection: What's Your Trigger

    • 3.6a: Educator Self-Care

    • 3.6b: Self-Care Alternate Ideas While Sheltering-in-Place

    • 3.6c: Start NOW, With Mindfulness In Nature

    • 3.7a: Creating Safety At School

    • 3.7b: A Closer Look At Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs

    • 3.7c: Three Types of Safety

    • 3.7d: Classroom Strategies For Students Experiencing Challenges With Behavioral And Emotional Self-Regulation

    • 3.7e: Collective Reflection: Ideas For Creating Safety At School

  • 7

    Lesson 4: Strategies for universal precautions for your classroom

    • 4.1a: Embedding Universal Precautions Into The Culture Of The Classroom

    • 4.1b: Enhance Your Expertise With Providing Corrective Feedback

    • 4.1c: TREP Matched To Domains of Impairment

    • 4.2a: Domain 1: Neurobiological Dysregulation

    • 4.2b: What Educators And Students Say About Mindfulness

    • 4.2c: Strategy: Integrating Mindfulness In Your Classroom Schedule

    • 4.3a: Domain 2: Attachment

    • 4.3b: Strategy: Be A Relationship Coach

    • 4.4a: Domain 3: Behavioral Regulation

    • 4.4b: Strategy: Reinforce, Remind, Redirect

    • 4.5a: Domain 4: Emotional Regulation

    • 4.5b: Strategy: Regular Emotional Check-Ins

    • 4.6a: Domain 5: Self-Image

    • 4.6b: Strategy: Maximize Use Of Supportive Language During Disciplinary Corrections

    • 4.7a: Domain 6: Dissociation

    • 4.7b: Strategy: Grounding

    • 4.8a: Domain 7: Thinking & Learning

    • 4.8b: Strategy: Mini-Lessons

    • 4.9a: Prevention And Management Of Educator Stress

    • 4.9b: Are You At Risk For Secondary Traumatic Stress?

    • 4.9c: Attending To Your Well-Being

    • 4.9d: Attending To Collective Well-Being

  • 8

    Brief Feedback Survey

    • Brief Feedback Survey