Trauma-informed Teaching Practice and Refugee Children: A Hopeful Reflection on Welcoming Our New Neighbours to Canadian Schools
Keywords:Refugees, Syrian Refugees, Teaching English as an Additional Language, Literacy, Trauma-informed Teaching Practice
Given the Canadian government’s focus on refugee resettlement in light of global crises, many schools are receiving increased enrolment of students who have experienced the trauma associated with living in, and fleeing from, regions experiencing armed conflict. As well as the effects of complex trauma, children from these backgrounds will likely have experienced disrupted schooling during the migration process (e.g. in refugee camps), and as a consequence lack literacy in their first language. The authors assert that given the numbers of such students entering Canadian classrooms, it is important that educators have at least some knowledge of trauma-informed teaching practice. Illustrated through the journal entries of a student teacher, the implementation of Blaustein & Kinniburgh’s (2010) ARC Framework is described, as applied in one Canadian high school, in a classroom of newly-arrived refugees from war-torn countries. The effect of trauma on key areas of attachment, self-regulation, and developmental competence are considered, alongside illustrations of classroom intervention strategies. While acknowledging the challenges inherent in trauma-informed teaching practice, the article encourages a move away from a deficit perspective on children from refugee backgrounds, toward one of hope, befitting the resiliency such children bring to their new country.
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