Trauma In The Classroom & The Dignity Revolution
By Courtney Donati • Director Of Dignity Revolution • Appleton, Wisconsin
When students have gone through trauma, learning is severely hindered.
In this season, there is a lot of compounding, existing, and unaddressed traumas in our students lives. Each part of a student’s brain is altered when they experience trauma.
We are living in a world where the layers of trauma are building and the students who are in our classrooms or in our churches are feeling the weight. Many students are feeling overwhelmed and finding it difficult to retain any new information.
As educators, and youth leaders, it is important to understand where our students are at and how we can help them or walk alongside them in this process.
There is a book called The Day Trauma Came to Class, and they mention Golden Rules of the Classroom.
The Golden Rules of the Classroom are:
- We Have All Been Through Things
- We All Have Value
- We Are All In This Together.
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An activity we do at Dignity Revolution, the “Dice Game”, in this activity, students shake a dice and share an emotion that corresponds with the number. For example, if a student rolls a 5 that might stand for ‘anxious’ and the student shares about a time they felt anxious.
This activity helps in several ways, one, it shows students that it is okay and normal to feel these emotions; they can see that by observing their peers and their teachers sharing their emotions.
Secondly, the activity functions as a way for students to get to know their classmates, thirdly, it helps with critical listening and feedback skills. Students may also learn empathy during this activity as they learn how others work through their struggles.
Many times, students who are going through hard times do not realize that they are not alone. Difficult situations are hard for students to process through and finding out that a peer has a similar struggle creates a sense of community. The Golden Rules of the Classroom come into play with many of our activities.
At Dignity Revolution, our mission statement is to Stand up for the Value of Every Person. We truly believe that everyone has value and is deserving of our love and respect.
Courtney Donati is the Director of Dignity Revolution. Prior to joining the Dignity Revolution team, Courtney worked as a school counselor. She received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Master’s of Education in Pupil Services. Courtney has seen, first hand, the struggles many students face and believes in Dignity Revolution’s mission to Stand Up for the Value of Every Person.