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EDU5324 Trauma, Behaviour and Learning

Semester 3, 2022 Online
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Education
Student contribution band : Band 1
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 30 June 2022


Teachers today are faced with an increasingly diverse student population with a variety of academic and behavioural strengths and challenges. It is becoming increasingly recognised that teachers need specific knowledge and skills in behaviour management to respond effectively to the behaviour challenges posed by an increasingly diverse student population. Of particular concern are those students demonstrating ongoing, serious disruptive behaviour as the result of trauma. Research suggests that the number of children affected by trauma has increased and so too has the severity of the traumatic event (Cafcass; Donnelly, 2013). With estimates in excess of 25% of children and adolescents in the community having experienced at least one potentially traumatic event during their lifetime (Black et al., 2012; Crosby, 2015) it is essential that educators have the knowledge and skills to interact positively with traumatised children to assist them to receive appropriate intervention and achieve better educational outcomes. Drawing from the fields of psychology and neuroscience, evidence-based practice assists educators to recognise the impact of trauma and to provide effective trauma informed positive behaviour support, for our children in greatest need of our understanding and care.

In this course educators in both regular and special education early childhood, primary and secondary learning contexts will explore ways to think differently about and respond to, challenging student behaviours due to trauma drawing from the fields of psychology and neuroscience. The course has as its major focus the essential knowledge and skills necessary for educators to: 1. understand the needs of traumatised children and the impact that trauma may have on the behaviour of children; 2. create and sustain safe and supportive learning environments; 3. manage serious, disruptive student behaviour; 4. utilise evidence-based strategies to effectively manage, intervene and support students who have experienced trauma; 5. develop positive, secure relationships with traumatised students and collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders within and beyond the school setting; 6. recognise appropriate interventions including consideration of levels of traumatic response, implementation and evaluation. Knowledge acquisition targeted at trauma informed positive behaviour support practices focused on understanding and care, in conjunction with associated theoretical underpinnings, will enable educators to decrease the serious, disruptive behaviours of concern by recognising the unique needs and capabilities of children who are victims of trauma.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. identify and explain the theoretical foundations of a trauma informed positive behaviour support approach (Assignment 1);
  2. critically examine a range of current approaches to trauma (Assignment 1);
  3. describe the impacts that trauma may have on the behaviour of children and the reasons for this from a social and emotional and educational perspective (Assignment 1);
  4. identify factors which might enhance or impede the implementation of a trauma-informed approach to supporting positive behaviour (Assignment 2);
  5. critically evaluate evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies that assist teachers to support traumatised children maximising their cooperation and engagement in learning (Assignment 2);
  6. explain and justify a repertoire of evidence-based strategies for the prevention, teaching and reinforcing of appropriate behaviour and the reduction of serious, disruptive behaviour in the learning environment in case studies of traumatised children (Assignment 2);
  7. demonstrate competence in and appropriate use of language and literacy, including spelling, grammar, punctuation and bibliographic referencing (Assignments 1 and 2).


Description Weighting(%)
1. Behaviour support in context - mental health, positive behaviour support and child development 10.00
2. Understand and Empathise - impact of abuse and neglect on child development and learning 15.00
3. Connect and Validate - impact of trauma on relationships, attachment theory and strategies to build trust 15.00
4. Prevent and Contain – impact of trauma on the brain and body, neurobiology and strategies to help students regulate emotions 30.00
5. Teach and Reinforce – impact of trauma on learning, strategies to engage and teach 20.00
6. Survive and Thrive – reflective practice, collaboration and self-care 10.00
Date printed 30 June 2022