Canada: Education union provides resource on trauma-informed teaching and learning

published 18 August 2020 updated 19 August 2020

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE) has published a resource on trauma-informed teaching and learning (TITAL) to be used by its affiliates and educators around Canada. The resource will help to provide children with quality education when schools reopen.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted schedules, routines, home lives, and social lives of students. For some, it has affected their emotional states, access to nutrition, and connection to the world.

According to the CTF/FCE, the TITAL resource is a tool to help understand how the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of schools have affected students. Once school buildings reopen and classes restart, students of all ages may have experienced trauma from circumstances that were physically, socially, mentally and/or emotionally difficult and/or harmful.

Different home contexts, new school context

TITAL takes into account that:

  • Some student experiences may be complicated, especially if there were difficult or tumultuous situations at home
  • “Normal” schooling is not in place yet. Children may find themselves in a different classroom experience with changed rules, procedures, and safety precautions, which might make a regularly safe and happy classroom feel unfamiliar. Allowing students to discuss how they feel is essential.
  • Such trauma, after a period of stress and upheaval, could be a mild form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Strategies for teachers to help students

The TITAL resource helps educators  detect  signs of trauma in the classroom, such as separation anxiety, sleep disturbance, sadness, loss of interest in activities the student once enjoyed, or reduced concentration.

It also details strategies for teachers to:

  • Learn to recognise the signs and symptoms of trauma.
  • Create a caring learning environment that recognises the importance of social, emotional, and wellness skills for students of all ages.
  • Adopt a whole community or team approach to assisting students, which should include special education professionals and paraprofessionals, school administration, the child’s family (where appropriate), and so on.

Help for colleagues

It further lays out strategies for teachers to help each other and their schools and advises that every school should develop and implement a plan for TITAL for the month of September and beyond.

You can find more information on the TITAL resource here.