Pre-service teachers' experiences with students impacted by Trauma in the school setting
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Telethon Kids Institute, Australia
The University of Western Australia, Australia
The University of Tasmania, Australia
Telethon Kids Institut, The University of Western Australia, Australia
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A690
Background: Experiencing trauma can adversely impact a child’s education and their lifelong social, physical and mental health. Trauma is poorly understood by those working within the education sector. Teachers play a pivotal role in recognising and helping when children display trauma-related behaviours, but risk re-traumatising children if not adequately trained. Pre-service teachers (PSTs) have limited exposure and experience in responding to the different needs experienced by children impacted by trauma. This research explored PST education and training about trauma and its impact, and their knowledge and experience in supporting children whilst on practicums. Methods: Phenomenological analysis of in-depth interviews with 15 undergraduate PSTs attending three Western Australian universities explored their knowledge and experiences in working with children impacted by trauma. Results: Themes emerging from the data included; PSTs’ teaching preparedness, experiences and emotions on practicums, support during and after practicums and recommendations. Participants received almost no education or training about how to support children impacted by trauma, felt underprepared, lacked support from schools and their university, and noted issues with inadequate trauma-informed practices in some classrooms. A prominent finding resonating with all participants was the importance of gaining an understanding about trauma to better equip PSTs with the knowledge and confidence to support children. Conclusions: This research suggests PSTs may not be receiving sufficient training at university about how to support children impacted by trauma and feel underprepared on practicums. Results highlight the importance of teacher education and training in preparing future teachers about supporting children impacted by trauma. The results demonstrate the necessity for conceptual changes around university education and support for PSTs in classrooms. These results are relevant internationally for education sectors in ensuring adequate training of our future teachers, universities in their teaching courses and for schools in how best to support their practicum and school students.
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