How YOU Can Foster Resilient Learners in Your Classroom?

In the book, “Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a trauma-Sensitive Classroom,” by Kristen Souers and Pete Hall, is all about a growing issue– childhood trauma, and the effects that is has on both learning and teaching. Souers and Hall write on teaching educators, much like yourself, to create a trauma-centered learning environment for your students!

Fostering Resilient Learners

Understanding What Trauma Is and How It Hinders Learning

Childhood trauma is something that happens a lot more than most of us even realize. Something that happens so frequently, that two thirds of children can identify at least one traumatic experience they’ve had before the age of 16. According to Understanding Child Trauma, some reasons for trauma may include:

  • Mental or physical abuse
  • Community or school violence
  • Witnessing or experiencing domestic violence
  • Sudden loss of a loved one
  • Refugee or war experience
  • Military related
  • Neglect
  • Serious accident or life-threatening illness

More than likely, many of these reasons on this list aren’t always taken into consideration when we hear the phrase, “childhood trauma.” But how do all of these reasons for trauma hinder our students learning? In a study done by Helping Traumatized Children Learn, it’s been shown that childhood traumatic experiences can diminish concentration, memory, and the organizational and language abilities that are needed for students to succeed in the classroom. Not only does it hinder learning, it also hinders classroom behavior as well. Typically children that experience trauma, think of school as a battleground. Many of the classroom behavioral problems, stem from the same issues that made the academic troubles.

Building Strong Relationships and Creating a Safe Learning Place

Building strong relationships with your students is so important. Strong relationships encourage positive learning environments, creates classroom community, and the greatest investment we can make with our students. Investing in our students means that we’re able to help them grow in and out of the classroom, we build trust, and make them feel loved– which are all components some of our may never feel at home. Some ways that we can create a safe learning place for our students is:

  • Transparency in the classroom– as a teacher, you’re still human! If you don’t know the answer to something, just be honest with your students.
  • Individually chat with your students– speaking with students as individuals is one of the greatest ways to start to build relationships.
  • Don’t put out students voices– allow your students to be heard; everyone wants to be seen and heard. Let them advocate for themselves and for others.

Every child deserves a champion– an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.

–Rita F. Pierson

How Can WE Help?

The video below, by the CDC, explains the effects of children with adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and how it plays a roll on health and well-being. This video helps us to understand, recognize, and prevent ACEs!


  1. Hi Josie! I really enjoyed reading your post! I especially liked how you included a section on how we can help specifically in our classrooms! The video you provided is super helpful and insightful! How would you include these practices in your classroom?? Great post again!

  2. Josie,
    Awesome post! I really like the video from the CDC you have, especially the data they mentioned. That’s really interesting. I like your ideas to build strong relationships and create a safe learning environment. How do you plan to find time to chat with every student as a busy teacher?

  3. Josie,
    Great blog post! I absolutely loved how you infused the idea about transparency as a way to build strong relationships with students along with creating a safe space. That really reminded me of some of the conversations that took place in the most recent seminar about student teaching. I also would add that being transparent will help our students trust us more, and if they know they are able to trust us, they might feel more comfortable bringing things to our attention and talking to us about their life. I also like how you tied ways to foster meaningful relationships with that powerful quote by Rita Pierson. Great post!

  4. Josie, Thank you for sharing your thought on Fostering Resilient Learners! I really appreciate the video you shared about children who have had adverse childhood experiences. It is important that we understand the effects of ACEs on students’ health and well-being. You mentioned creating a safe space to learn, what are different objects you will have in place to help students who have experienced trauma?

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