by Anna Boutin-Cooper, Research & Visual Arts Librarian, Franklin & Marshall College
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) defines trauma as “an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.”
With this definition in mind, it’s easy to see how the current national climate — struck between witnessing the glaring inequality of race-based violence and police brutality amidst a global pandemic — can cause trauma in ourselves, our students, our patrons, our colleagues, and our communities at large. As Karina Hagelin describes in their ACRLog post, Moving Towards Healing: A Trauma-Informed Librarianship Primer, “Trauma can happen to anyone. You can’t tell by looking at someone if they’re a trauma survivor or not. Unless someone discloses to you that they are a survivor, there isn’t any way to tell.”
In reaction to this overwhelming and all-consuming global situation, it’s important to recognize that any one of our students, patrons, colleagues, communities, and even ourselves can have experienced trauma — whether it be the death of a friend or family member at the hands of the police, a loved one being ill with COVID-19, the chronic stress and anxiety of our constantly changing information landscape, job precarity, or the stressors of balancing personal and professional life as they now intersect so closely.
Now is the time to embrace trauma-informed pedagogy, in order to make our classrooms and workplaces safe and compassionate spaces, where our students and patrons can heal and recover, or at the very least: not be re-traumatized through our teaching practices.
In this spirit, the ARLIS/NA Teaching SIG has put together a list of resources on trauma-informed pedagogy. The following slides, presentations, readings, podcasts, and webinars are not meant to be a comprehensive list, but instead a place to start your own journey discovering and learning about trauma-informed practice for your own classrooms.
- Janice Carello, PhD LMSW, Trauma Informed Teaching [blog].
- Karen Costa, Trauma-Aware Online Teaching [presentation slides], OLC Ideate, April 2020.
- Shannon Davidson, PhD, “Trauma-Informed Practices for Postsecondary Education: A Guide,” n.d.:
- Karina Hagelin, “Moving Towards Healing: A Trauma-Informed Librarianship Primer,” ACRLog, June 23, 2020.
- Mays Imad, “Leveraging the Neuroscience of Today,” Inside Higher Ed, June 3, 2020.
- Rebecca Mushtare and John Kane, “131. Trauma-informed Pedagogy,” Tea for Teaching [podcast], April 22, 2020.
- Resilient Futures [website & non-profit].
- SAMHSA, “Trauma and Violence,” August 2, 2019.
- SAMHSA, “SAMHSA’s Trauma-Informed Approach: Key Assumptions & Principles,” September 10, 2018.
- Trauma Informed Oregon, Trauma Informed Care in the Classroom: A Resource Guide for Educators in Higher Learning, n.d.