Trauma-informed practice pilot embraces remote learning

Training has continued for the majority of the nearly 1400 participants involved in the Disability Strategy Implementation (DSI) team’s Trauma-Informed Practice pilot.

Over 200 participants had completed the full program before COVID-19 began, and over three-quarters are expected to cover the final sections in a modified format that will include coverage of COVID-specific content.

Facilitators have adapted delivery of the course’s final two modules to allow staff to complete the training using online platforms or in-person with strict physical distancing guidelines in place.

Nicholas Danta, DSI Engagement Lead said the professional learning course writers offered guidance to facilitators on COVID-friendly adaptations that prioritised collaboration and staff mental health.

“Hopefully by the end of Term 2 most people will have done either a physically distanced or modified online Zoom delivery,” said Mr Danta.

“The bigger picture is to get the course available to staff more widely so we need to make sure we get enough participant data to do a rich, valuable evaluation.”

The team aims to complete this evaluation during Term 3 and make an announcement about the future of the pilot in early 2021.

Trauma-Informed Tips for School Staff

Karen Burt, head of the Trauma-Informed Practice course writing team, said there are a number of ways staff can be implementing principles behind the course while the pilot is ongoing.

“If people go way with one thing from the four trauma-informed practice modules, it is that relationships are key,” Ms Burt said. “It’s important to think about how you maintain relationships during stressful periods.”

Staff can:

  • work with leadership and other staff to ensure systems are in place to flag when students and staff are becoming disconnected
  • keep things fun, for example, try working with students to create a new way to ‘shake hands’ without touching
  • prioritise wellbeing, especially as students are first returning to school – remember that we all find it difficult to think or learn when we don’t feel calm and safe
  • put time in the calendar for a regular staff morning tea or social catch up to ensure connections are maintained.
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