A trauma-informed approach to college teaching and learning refers to adopting a set of trauma-informed principles to inform educational policies and procedures. The principles must be specific enough to provide a useful framework but general enough to be adapted for and operationalized within a variety of settings.
The original trauma-informed principles (safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment) were developed by Roger Fallot and Maxine Harris, the pioneers of trauma-informed care. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), home of the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care (NCTIC), adapted the principles and added a sixth (cultural, historical, and gender issues).
I have further adapted the principles for use in college and university settings. The principles below can be operationalized at the classroom level as well as the department, program, school, or system levels. When I do trainings, I collaborate with educators to customize and operationalize the principles for their classroom, department, or program. A pdf version of these principles, which I am referring to as Trauma Informed Teaching and Learning (TITL) General Principles, is also linked here and listed on the blog’s Resources page.
A pdf version of Examples of TITL Principles in College Classrooms that I have customized for classroom use is also also linked here. This version provides examples of what each principle might look like in seated or virtual course settings.
Carello, J., & Butler, L. D. (2015). Practicing what we teach: Trauma-informed educational practice. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 35(3), 262-278.
Cole, S. F., Eisner, A., Gregory, M., & Ristuccia, J. (2013). Helping traumatized children learn: Creating and advocating for trauma-sensitive schools. Massachusetts Advocates for Children Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative. Retrieved from http://tlpi.jacksonwhelan.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/HTCL-Vol-2-Creating-and-Advocating-for-TSS.pdf
Elliot, D. M., Bjelac, P., Fallot, R. D., Markoff, L. S., & Reed, B. G. (2005). Trauma-informed or trauma-denied: Principles and implementation of trauma-informed services for women.Journal of Community Psychology, 33(4), 461–477.
Fallot, R. D., & Harris, M. (2006). Trauma-informed services: A self-assessment and planning protocol. Washington, DC: Community Connections. Retrieved from https://children.wi.gov/Documents/CCTICSelf-AssessmentandPlanningProtocol0709.pdf
St. Andrews, A. (2013). Trauma and resilience: An adolescent provider toolkit. San Francisco, CA: Adolescent Health Working Group. Retrieved from https://ahwg.org/download/trauma-and-resilience-2013/