Several years ago, before I became a teacher, I took a contemporary Native American course as one of my first college classes. For the final research assignment, I choose to explore Odd rates of suicide Among Native American youth – a problem affecting almost all tribal communities, including my own, the standing Rock Sioux tribe.
From that assignment, I learned that understanding trauma can help us better deal with complex behavioral issues in the communities we care for, be it our tribal nations or classrooms.
That dissertation was the beginning of my education, which most teachers call the “trauma-information method”, which is used to accept the broader effects of trauma, and began my journey of advocating for native youth through education. I realized that in most cases, trauma – where it comes from and how to address it – is limited. To truly overcome the trauma, we must consider both the cultural experience and the socio-economic inequalities that affect our students.
Years later, I personally draw on my initial understanding of trauma from an indigenous context in my current position working for the urban school district in Trazona. As a Native American Student Achievement Teacher for the Federally Funded Grants Program, I work directly with teachers of Native American students to develop their capacity for culturally responsive practices. On any given day, you serve me as an instructor, professional development facility, or class teacher for the 1,300 Native American students in our district.
The Native American students I work with, like many other Native American students, experience high rates Poverty And Health inequality, Especially in the case of Kovid-1 to, which has made the original population particularly difficult. All of this contributes to a high chance of trauma-exposure, but most importantly, the native students in my district are citizens of tribal nations who have a long cultural tradition of evaluating their interactions with all living things, including their communities, land and water. In my experience, teachers who have had the most success with their native students consider these cultural strengths in their planning and instruction.
Research has shown trauma-suggestive practices prevalent in schools Benefit all students, One-size-fits-all programs do not work. Mainstream approaches to trauma-indicated methods often fail to address or prevent trauma, and worst of all can actually sustain harm. In order for trauma-suggested methods to be meaningful to students विशेष especially those I work with त्यांच्या their teachers and school leaders must question whether those methods are being brought in a culturally responsive manner.
Where trauma-suggested practices meet culturally responsive teaching
Like trauma-indicated methods, culturally responsive methods are frequently mentioned but rarely understood in school communities. Although there are many definitions, I often turn to myself The work of educator-author Zarretta Hammond For a clear and comprehensive sense of culturally responsive learning.
According to Hammond, culturally responsive learning is the purposeful integration of students’ cultural experiences, knowledge, and learning processes. Culturally responsive education is more than the surface level of multiculturalism. This requires teachers to confirm and take advantage of what and how they learn in their homes and communities.
For this, teachers need to raise awareness about the socio-political and historical context of their community as well as the cultural background of their students. Most importantly, culturally responsive learning recognizes that students need to feel socially-emotionally and intellectually secure in order to engage in rigorous learning. This is the last aspect that connects culturally responsive learning and classroom trauma-information practices.
As a starting point for responding more culturally to trauma-suggested practices, teachers should seriously reflect on the mindset and assumptions they have with them. In coaching conversations and vocational training, I often share the following suggestions with their teachers who want to bring a culturally responsive lens from their trauma-information perspective.
Consider the socio-political and historical contexts of your school community
While working on that undergraduate research paper, I was introduced to Drs. Found the work of Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, who created the conditions Historical trauma And response to historical trauma. Historical trauma refers to trauma sources that often draw attention to the fact that collective and large-scale traumatic events can affect many generations of individuals without focusing on traumatic information. When I hear discussions about trauma in schools, they are almost always limited to the reciprocal individual incidents of harm – often abuse, neglect or violence in the home. Rarely, though, do we think of collective or ongoing phenomena, such as colonization or structural racism.
In the past, I’ve heard teachers claim that Native families “don’t like to join school” when discussing why we consistently see such low academic performance among Native American students. Some think about socio-political or historical reasons why native families may be reluctant to trust schools and teachers.
Part of my job is to help teachers create awareness of Native American students’ experiences that can affect their academic performance. This can be difficult because our district is represented by more than 45 different tribal nations, each with its own unique history and context. But to introduce them to the federal policy of forcibly removing the original children from their families Government boarding school compulsory It is an experience that has touched almost all 570 federally recognized tribal nations in the United States.
This policy applies in the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. Hundreds of thousands of native children were placed in schools that punished any use of their traditional language or cultural practices with severe penalties. Apart from their families, Native American students were deliberately deprived of their cultural identity. It continues Negative results On the social, emotional, physical and mental health of Native Americans. For some, trauma is related to schooling.
Learning about historical trauma as a blueprint to understand why the relatively recent colonization of North America has had a lasting negative impact on Native American communities has helped me understand why I see health inequalities, including youth suicide in my tribal community. This cultural context through which I came to understand trauma helped me to understand the importance of going beyond the individual and interpersonal events of trauma in order to consider socio-political and historical contexts. When we assume that the source of student trauma is personal or family, we run the risk of suggesting that students, their families, and communities have been harmed. Often, it’s something big.
Prefer strength-based approaches
“This place might be the time for them to pay positive attention” or “For those kids, you’re the only caring adult in their lives.” Such types are frequently heard in the schools I support. This kind of mindset puts students and their families in the spotlight. Too often, teachers adopt a patriarchal approach when they believe that traumatized students have no strategies or safe relationships to cope with their high levels of stress. In reality, students, families and their communities have always had culturally specific policies to sustain their well-being, but historical injustices such as boarding school policy have kept those policies out of school.
Instead, I often advise changing attitudes based on strengths, which emphasize the rich knowledge and experiences students bring to the classroom, rather than seeing them as a source of trauma. When trauma-inflicted methods are applied, it appears to address and maintain the cultural and community-specific strategies of students and families.
Teachers can create time and space in their classrooms so that students can share and practice those strategies in honest situations, but they also need to develop opportunities for families to take input into shock-suggestive strategies and practices. Building an honest partnership with families requires two-way communication. Giving office hours, sending home surveys, and attending community events are just some of the ways my students have learned about the knowledge they bring to the classroom and specific healthy strategies.
When I think about those healthy policies that already exist in my students ’home lives, my mind often turns to ceremonies, which play an important role in maintaining overall well-being in Native American communities. However, I know from personal experience as a Native American person who lives primarily in a non-Native city and went to school that urban Indigenous students may be less likely to engage in these constructive experiences. Yet many of the urban native youths I work with now tell stories of their age of return home and their reservations for other culturally important ceremonies. This diversity of experiences speaks to the need for students and families to be more willing to take an inquiry-based approach to dealing with their health as experts.
It is important that in the current global pandemic we are all adjusting to teaching and learning, and that we resist one-size-fits-all approaches that are limited in their understanding of where trauma comes from and where students and families are harmed. Instead, we need to think about how we can transform traumatic education to respond more culturally to the students and communities we want to serve. Only when we take the time to learn about our students’ socio-economic and historical backgrounds and to leverage their cultural strengths and knowledge, will our schools become places to recover from trauma.