Trauma-informed Care in Schools: A Multi-tiered Systems of Support Training for Pre-Service Teachers
A significant percentage of students come to school having experienced one or more traumatic events. The neurobiology of their brain is changed due to trauma exposure, affecting their academics, behavior, and mental health. There is a need for pre-service teachers to be trained in trauma-informed care (TIC) so that when they become practicing teachers, their TIC knowledge provides students who have experienced trauma a safe, caring, and relationally connected education, absent of re-traumatization. The purpose of this study was to determine the degree to which pre-service elementary education teachers earning a special education endorsement and secondary general education pre-service teachers who received a TIC training demonstrated gains in confidence and knowledge of TIC. Participants were enrolled in two upper-level special education courses at Iowa State University and took pre- and post-surveys in Qualtrics to determine their TIC knowledge and confidence levels. The results of a paired t-test statistical analysis revealed a statistically significant increase in both TIC knowledge and confidence. Participants completed a social validity question indicating that the intervention was “effective” or “very effective” in increasing their TIC knowledge. This research holds promise that with proper training, pre-service teachers will be able to implement TIC in their future classrooms in a way that not only reduces the negative effects of trauma, but also avoids retraumatization, improves academic outcomes, and meets the needs of the students.