EXTERNALLY FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
Thoughtful teachers: Trauma-informed and restorative practices in schools
Research interest is growing around the impact of trauma and chronic stress on child development, particularly relating to the brain. Intergenerational trauma is one example of chronic stress and complex trauma which affects child development, behaviour and learning outcomes. Often this trauma is manifested in behaviours that are outside acceptable societal boundaries, which can either become internalised (self-harm) or externalised (disruptive) behaviours. Complex trauma can have physiological, psychological, emotional, social and cultural layers. Schools’ responses to the impact of trauma often focus on correcting behaviour through discipline, sanctions and punishment, which act to continue the cycle of dysfunction, pain, social isolation and further trauma, all of which have deleterious effects on child health and wellbeing.
This research aims to explore the impact of trauma and construct a multidisciplinary approach to understanding how it affects children and educators in Queensland. This research will benefit children and educators by increasing knowledge and understanding about 1) the impact of trauma and other adverse childhood experiences on behaviour; and 2) the detrimental impact of punitive behaviour management and the potential benefits of restorative practice.
The research design for this study takes a multidisciplinary approach through a case study methodology nested in a design-based approach. Phenomenological analysis of the qualitative data collected in semi-structured interviews will be conducted using emergent coding and theming to develop greater understanding of needs and strategies that professionals working with trauma-affected people employ with children who have experienced or are experiencing complex trauma.