A New Approach to Trauma-Informed Schools: Increasing Student Engagement, Achievement and Wellbeing

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Online via Zoom

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Speaker:  Dr Tom Brunzell, Director of Education, Berry Street

Presented as part of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute's Mental Health and Society Seminar Series

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Across the country and the world, schools and teachers are establishing strategies and educational practices for re-entry into schools whilst managing the possible continuing impacts of the pandemic. In this seminar Dr Tom Brunzell, Director of Education for Berry Street and an Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne's Graduate School of Education, will share his research and practice approach on the ways educators can proactively prepare for the “new normal” by learning trauma-informed strategies especially aimed at increasing engagement with learning.

Trauma-informed strategies recognise that experiences of prolonged, elevated stress or trauma can have a deep and profound impact on all aspects of a young person’s life. Research has shown that when teachers implement trauma-informed strategies, a student’s academic and wellbeing outcomes increase. Alongside quantitative evidence, qualitative research exploring students’ own voices demonstrates ways they are effectively applying trauma-informed wellbeing strategies inside and outside the classroom and that students with histories of educational disruption are increasing engagement with learning.

While the strategies established through this research have prioritised students on the margins of their school communities, Dr Brunzell will also share findings that suggest all students benefit when all school staff members collaboratively work towards a consistent implementation of a trauma-informed practice.

Dr Tom Brunzell (MST, EdM, PhD) has experience as a teacher, school leader, researcher and education advisor.  Currently he is the Director of Education at Berry Street and Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education.  Tom presents internationally on topics of transforming school culture, student engagement, trauma-aware practice, wellbeing and positive psychology, and effective school leadership.  His research at the University of Melbourne investigates trauma-informed wellbeing classroom strategies; and both the negative impacts of secondary traumatic stress and the positive impacts of wellbeing on teachers and leaders working towards educational equity in their communities. His new book: Creating Trauma-informed Strengths Based Classrooms, co-authored with Dr Jacolyn Norrish, is now available through Hachette/Jessica Kingsley Publishers, UK, and booksellers worldwide.

Other seminars in this series
(videos available)

Thursday  4 March 2021 – Professor Bernadette McSherry
O Brave New Brain? Regulating "Neurointerventions"

Thursday  1 April 2021 – Indigo Daya
Welcoming Diverse Consumer and Survivor Views and Voices into Mental Health

Thursday 6 May 2021 – Dr  Magenta Simmons and  Melissa Keller-Tuberg
Involving Young People as Partners in Mental Health Research

Thursday 3 June 2021 – Professor Helen Cahill
Using School-based Social and Emotional Learning Programs to Advance Wellbeing Post Emergency

Thursday 16 September 2021 – Dr Kay Wilson
Mental Health Law: Abolish or Reform?