This is the second of two posts all about what I'm learning that is working for literacy educators employing trauma-informed practices NOW. If you didn't see the first post, find it here. To sum up the first three practices before going into the next three, teachers are using bibliotherapy and trauma-informed book choices, defining the role of teachers within the trauma-informed network, and having students journal.
For this post, I'll describe some of the basic notions behind three more practices I'm seeing. These include attention to privacy and the establishment of healthy boundaries; the recognition that lots of race-based traumas go unnoticed in traditional literacy practices; and that literacy teachers are expanding what counts as appropriate to talk, write, and read about and also as instruction and assessment of learning.
Teachers and researchers are doing some amazing things when it comes to literacy pedagogy and trauma-informed practices. Not sure what that all looks like? Keep reading to learn how educators are currently employing trauma-informed practices in service of literacy instruction! Plus, stay tuned for several more posts elaborating on these ideas with links to research, tools, and social media.
Attention to Privacy and Boundaries:
So many of the things teachers are doing to bring TIPs into the literacy classroom overlap. Here's one example. In my previous post, I wrote about journaling. Here, I'm talking about privacy and boundaries, which are huge things to attend to when having students journal on sensitive and taboo topics.
In a future post, I'll share just what you should consider when having students journal about personal stories or in response to trauma literature. Attention to boundaries and privacy also includes quiet and confidential behavior management practices (not necessarily related to literacy but nonetheless valuable). Again, stay tuned for more on what teachers and researchers are recommending with privacy and boundaries in the literacy classroom.
Recognizing the Potentially Traumatizing Nature of Traditional Literacy Instruction for BIPOCs:
Race-based traumas happen in schools all the time, yet they often go unnoticed (Alvarez et al., 2016). Part of racism that often appears in schools is the mis/under-representation of BIPOCs in course materials, including literature and authorship. Many literacy teachers are working wonders with making their literacy instruction more inclusive. In a future post, I'll provide resources and share strategies for authentically inclusive literacy instruction.
Expanding What Counts in the Literacy Classroom:
Not only are teachers going beyond the mainstream characters, storylines, and authorship, but they are also expanding what is permitted in literacy as topics, instruction, and evidence of learning. Students are writing, reading, and discussing about a wider array of stories along the continuum of human experience. They're also moving beyond print-based materials to learn and represent their learning.
Literacy teachers across the nation are making huge moves to make their instruction more trauma-informed and inclusive. This includes attention to privacy and boundaries, recognizing the damaging impacts of mis/underrepresentation of BIPOCs, and expanding what counts in the literacy classroom. Stay tuned for so many posts with practical tools and resources to incorporate trauma-informed practices in your literacy instruction!
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My name is Erin E. Silcox. I'm working on my Ph.D. in Literacy Education, focusing on the intersection of trauma and literacy. I want to deepen our base of knowledge about trauma-informed practices in schools and help teachers apply findings right now.