Children in Trauma: What’s the Unmet Need? Relationship

A chair that’s been flipped over. A desk that’s wet from spilled tears. A lesson that’s been derailed. A little one who has become unusually quiet and withdrawn. Most educators would agree that noticing whether a particular student is struggling socially or emotionally is often easy to do. But figuring out where that struggle is stemming from and how to best handle it is usually much more challenging. As more and more schools are becoming trauma-invested & providing social-emotional learning-based interventions, understanding the root issue is key.  Understanding that root issue then means understanding and addressing the unmet need that the child is craving. Over the course of this blog series, we’ll to explore meeting the needs of relationship, responsibility and regulation, with today’s focus being on relationship.

The unmet relationship need is complex. Many children who deeply desire safe, caring, consistent relationships are the very ones who don’t trust relationships at all. They’re the very ones who most often push away those teachers and classmates attempting to forge connection with them. Although this can be frustrating for all parties, taking the time to build that relationship is critical for real learning to begin.

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Children In Trauma: How You Can Help

If you’re in education, you know that trends and buzz words seem to come and go quickly from school year to school year. As our students are now living through a global pandemic, we’re hearing more and more about ‘children in trauma’. Some argue that this is not a new phenomenon…that we’ve always been responsible for children with struggles and that ‘troubled kids’ have simply been given a fancy new label. However, today’s latest research highlights the incredible impact that traumatic experiences can have on our girls and boys. We now know that stressful events…and, boy oh boy, our world is full of those more than ever before… have the ability to reach toxic levels. That toxic stress has the potential power to affect the brain, therefore altering the academic, social and emotional growth of our students experiencing distress. While some of this requires specialized training for schools and can even call for outside interventions, there are a few strategies that classroom teachers can immediately implement to provide support that won’t only be helpful to children in trauma, but to the entire class!

More often than not, chaos and sensing that things are out of control accompany trauma-related experiences for kids (and even for adults!). That’s why predictability and routines are key to creating a culture of calm and safety within your classroom. When expectations are clear and consistent over time, children grow in confidence and in their ability to self-monitor. Speaking of building confidence…

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WIDA Assessment

The ACCESS for ELLs secure, large-scale English language proficiency assessment has been designed by the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium.

English language proficiency scores were reported for each grade level for each of the following three language domains and the composite as determined by WIDA:

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Why Oral Language Development Is Essential for Preliteracy and Beyond

Think for a moment about how children learn language. They are learning before they are even born. They can hear and feel the vibrations of their mother’s voice while they are still in the womb. Once welcomed into the world, they listen to their parents talking and singing to them. Like little sponges, they soak everything in, from the sounds letters and words make to the inflection and rhythm of the spoken language. Then they begin making sounds of their own.

Through oral language, or spoken language, children progress in their understanding of words and the ability to use them to communicate their thoughts and feelings with others. They start by saying simple words usually around the age of one, soon followed by stringing words together to form sentences.

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Vocabulary Size: is Bigger Better?

Publishers of ESL curricula have long touted the size of their comparative vocabulary lists, implying “bigger is better”. To bolster the perception of program quality, the goal becomes “how many words can we teach?”. But there’s little connection between size of vocabulary lists and fluency in the language.

Consider this: a student can learn thousands of English words and still be unable to verbally express a complete thought!

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