05 SES 11, Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Traumatized young people spend much more time in educational institutions than in clinical settings. But educational research on traumatized students has not been as intensive as expected. It is assumed that these students have special needs regarding the teacher-student-relationship and the structure of the school’s schedule. Therefore, the study “Traumatized students in the classroom” aims at increasing pedagogical knowledge about traumatized children.
Following a long period of neglect, traumatized children have been focused on by psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience and psychoanalysis during the last two decades. It can be shown that emotional neglect as well as family-based physical and sexual violence are responsible for the majority of severe traumata.
There is a need for a pedagogical understanding of trauma, especially of the emotional and intellectual impacts of it. It is also necessary to gain knowledge about the teachers’ emotional burdens. Teachers working with traumatized students need to be empowered to be able to keep on with their particularly difficult work. As described in the methodology section, research on childhood trauma requires a focus on teachers and further staff in schools as they possess the most comprehensive information about their students’ backgrounds and their current living conditions.
The gap in educational research specified above can at least partly be bridged by the presented research project.
Research questions are in accordance with the three steps the project is composed of. All components focus on the teachers’ perceptions.
In a first step (October 2013 – January 2014), using an empirical, questionnaire based enquiry, we asked 92 professionals from elementary and special schools about their experiences with traumatized students. The main questions were:
a) How many traumatized students do teachers recognize in their classrooms?
b) What are the dominant kinds of traumatizing experiences in childhood and adolescence (i.e. physical violence, traumatizing breakup of parents)?
c) How do teachers perceive the impact of traumatization regarding the individual’s intellectual and emotional development as well as the development of the peer group?
d) What do teachers need to be able to work with these children and adolescents?
In a second step (February 2014 – August 2014), using qualitative interviews, we are going to ask teachers about the characteristics of their interpersonal relationships to traumatized children. The most important questions of interest are:
1. Which recurrent patterns of relationship behavior do traumatized children show?
2. What kind of trauma-related emotions do teachers observe in traumatized children?
3. What kind of emotions do teachers feel in their work with traumatized children and adolescents?
During the third step, we are going to offer trauma focused further education for these teachers. By doing so, we will measure the change in subjective competence working with traumatized students. Therefore, the main question is:
1. Do trauma-focused (and psychoanalysis-based) trainings have an influence on the teachers’ subjective competence when working with traumatized children?
Taking into account that these children and adolescents can be seen as a marginalized group in educational research, the study will gain basic knowledge about numbers and impacts of traumatic experiences from a pedagogical point of view. Further on, it will help to conceptualize “trauma” as a pedagogical category with special regard to the dimension “relationship”. Last but not least, this study will generate results about the effects of trauma-focused trainings for teachers.
Bausum, J., Besser, L. U., Kühn, M. & Weiß, W. (Eds.). (2013). Traumapädagogik (3rd ed.). Weinheim: Juventa. Bohleber, W. (2010). Destructiveness, Intersubjectivity and Trauma. The Identity Crisis of Modern Psychoanalysis. London: Karnac. Desbiens, N. & Gagné, M.H. (2007). Profiles in the development of behavior disorders among youths with family maltreatment histories. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties 12 (3), 215-240. Fischer, G., Riedesser P. (2009). Lehrbuch der Psychotraumatologie (4th ed.). München: Reinhardt. Herz, B. & Zimmermann, D. (2014). Beziehung statt Erziehung? Psychoanalytische Perspektiven auf pädagogische Herausforderungen in der Praxis mit emotional-sozial belasteten Heranwachsenden. In R. Stein & Th. Müller (Eds.), Inklusion im Förderschwerpunkt emotionale und soziale Entwicklung (= Inklusion in Schule und Gesellschaft 5), accepted, in press. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. Leuzinger-Bohleber, M. (2009). Frühe Kindheit als Schicksal? Trauma, Embodiment, Soziale Desintegration. Psychoanalytische Perspektiven. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. Solomon, M. & Thomas, G. (2013). Supporting behavior support: developing a model for leading and managing a unit for teenagers excluded from mainstream schools. Emotional and behavioral difficulties 18 (1), 44–59. Streek-Fischer, A. & Kolk, B. v. d. (2000). Down will come baby, cradle and all: diagnostic and therapeutic implications of chronic trauma on child development. Aust NZ J Psychiatry 34, 903–918. Ullrich, F. & Zimmermann, D. (2014). Gewalt und Vernachlässigung – Belastungen, die Unterricht unmöglich machen? Wahrnehmung von Traumatisierung bei Kindern und Jugendlichen und ihrer Folgen durch Fachkräfte in Schulen. Zeitschrift für Heilpädagogik, in review. van der Kolk, B. (2005). Developmental Trauma Disorder. Towards a rational diagnosis for children with complex trauma histories. Psychiatric Annals 35, 401–408. Zimmermann, D. (2012). Migration und Trauma. Verstehen und Handeln in der Arbeit mit jungen Flüchtlingen. Gießen: Psychosozial. Zimmermann, D. (2013). Verstehen und Handeln. Vom Umgang mit schweren psychosozialen Belastungen in der Schule. Heilpädagogische Forschung 34 (4), 187-193. Zimmermann, D. (2014a). Traumapädagogische Diagnostik. Sonderpädagogische Förderung heute 59 (3), accepted. Zimmermann, David (2014b): Die innere und äußere Beziehungsstörung – eine (psychoanalytisch-)pädagogische Perspektive auf das Phänomen Trauma. In: Jäckle, M., Bendel, B. & Schuster, W.-D. (Eds.): Handbuch Trauma und Schule. Ein interdisziplinäres Thema im pädagogischen Feld, accepted.
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