Reflection on incorporating trauma-informed pedagogical practices into my syllabus and/or course activities in Fall 2020

Having incorporated trauma-informed pedagogy into my courses in Fall 2020, I here reflect on what went well, and things I would like to revise going forward.

“Physical, Emotional, Social, & Academic Safety”

As I had mentioned in my first post, I included a section on “life happens” in the syllabus, and reviewed the supports available to students more than once during the semester. I also had my courses attend a workshop led by the NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Health called, “Covid-19 Community Conversations: Mental Health, Equity, and Resilience.”

I also began using an app, “Remind,” that allowed me to text short and regular reminders to students about upcoming readings, assignments, and events. I also found that sending a reminder five minutes before the beginning of class helped improve attendance and reduced lateness. I have no idea if this was a coincidence, of course, but I will continue using it as long as I am teaching synchronously online. And I may even use it when and if we return to in-person class.

Trustworthiness & Transparency

I had intended, and did achieve the creation, review, and distribution of rubrics for all assignments for this semester. I had wanted to minimize confusion and disappointment in grading. I am unsure if I have succeeded in minimizing disappointment with grades, but I do see some improvement in assignments which the review of rubrics in advance may have facilitated. I will continue to do this going forward. I have also been transparent about delays in returning feedback, as some weeks my administrative duties got the better of me. One week, I was delayed with a pet who was unwell. I decide to just be honest about it, and I students reacted positively and with understanding to my dilemma.

Support & Connection

I wanted to use Connect2Success this semester, but as has happened in previous semesters, the timing of the app never coincides with my assignments and grading schedule. I know I can use it outside the times it is encouraged, but I do not know if it functions in the same way in those off-periods. I need to follow up to find out and/or consider revising some assignments to see if I can link up to the timing of the program in future semesters.

Collaboration & Mutuality

I found that using breakout rooms to encourage discussion amongst peers in my synchronous courses worked quite well. To keep track of discussion, I also used Google sheets which I filled with short questions that students answered together in the breakout rooms. We reviewed some of their answers together when we returned from breakout rooms, and this helped break the ice and inspired more participation as I asked people to report back on their discussion in those rooms.

Empowerment, Voice, & Choice

I encouraged students to take breaks as needed in my courses, and also encouraged them to speak with me to adjust deadlines when necessary.

Social Justice

We spent most of the semester on content directly related to social justice.

Resilience, Growth, & Change

I believe that the breaks in class helped us balance our attention.

2 Replies to “Reflection on incorporating trauma-informed pedagogical practices into my syllabus and/or course activities in Fall 2020”

  1. Michelle — Thanks for your comment. I hope your pet is better! I wonder, would you be willing to share info on the NYC Dept of Mental Health COVID 19 Mental Health sessions? Other people may be interested in the resource. I love the Remind app — I will have never sent messages 5 minutes before class starts and will have to try that. I wonder, what did the student “breaks” in your course look like? That sounds very supportive & I am curious how it worked, was structured, etc.

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