Student Trauma and Well-being

Teaching as a graduate student requires a great deal of intellectual and emotional labor. Yet, most often we concentrate our efforts on teaching academic skills, leaving little space to consider or develop strategies to address our students’ emotional health, or our own. In order to learn most effectively, students must feel supported, understood and trusted. How can we can build these values into our classrooms and courses? Much in our educational system fails to acknowledge the vulnerabilities of students, and instructors must be vigilant to develop pedagogies that are sensitive to the realities of trauma in order to foster classroom environments where all can thrive.

Please join the Teaching and Learning Center on Tuesday April 16 for a workshop on “Student Trauma and Well-Being” where we’ll learn about trauma-informed pedagogies that can help us structure our classrooms to prevent re-traumatization and increase attention to well being. We will explore ways to implement these strategies in syllabus and assignment design, identifying course requirements and policies, facilitating discussion of traumatic content, managing student-instructor communication, and responding to student writing.

This workshop was offered in Spring 2019 as an in-person workshop at the Graduate Center, CUNY. The workshop and materials were developed by Lais Duarte.


All materials on this page and in the linked google folder are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) 4.0 International Public License.

This folder contains outreach materials, workshop plans and slides.

Materials Folder: Student Trauma and Well-being Workshop

Workshop Plan

Introduction (Name, Campus, Teaching Experience, 10 minutes).

Activity 1 (What are we talking about here?, 20 minutes)

  • Format: Drawing, Active Listening 
  • Goal: To engage possible drawbacks of addressing trauma in the classroom

Activity 2 (Introduction to Existing Frameworks : TITL AND TIEP,  30 minutes)

  • Format: Fill in the Blanks.  Participants will be given handouts or posters where they will find TITL/MSS guidelines (to strive  to establish safety, trustworthiness, collaboration, choice, empowerment) and domains of implementation (syllabi, assignment design and assessment, and discussion facilitation) and be asked to evaluate their usefulness and suggest additional strategies.
  • Goal: To share strategies for how to address trauma in the classroom and learn how to respond to encounters with students personal and/or collective trauma which can emerge from unexpectedly as in the case of writing assignments where students choose to discuss traumatic experiences.

Activity 3 (Encourage your undergraduate students to get help:  Self-Care Strategies / Campus resources, 30 minutes)

  • Format: Affinity Diagramming.
  • Goal: To  model a way of engaging the concept of self-care and shed light on the importance of these practices for both students and instructors.

Activity 4 (Mindfulness for the Classroom, 30 minutes)

  • Format: Breathing Exercises and Reflective writing. 
  • Goal: Share personal experience in the classroom and students perspectives. Lead one round of breathing exercises followed by reflection through free-writing and debrief.