Building Trauma – Sensitive Classrooms Where All Students Feels Safe

Sanjeev Sinha

Principal, Indian Public School, Dheradun [Uttarakhand]

The 21st century carries forward that pulse of change which was envisaged by planners, builders and business tycoons earlier on. The pace of development is like a surge that is intermittently affecting the mindset of the civilized world. We stand at the threshold of change where human imagination can be translated into gross reality. This has brought about drastic change in terms of human prosperity and comfort. Nevertheless, this progressive stance has given rise to anomalies that greatly effect human wellness and consequently peace of mind.

The world over, especially in Europe and America, where the progressive surge has reached almost its saturation point; nuclear family set-up is bearing the brunt of so called prosperity and advancement. Extended hours of work and less and less interaction between members of the family have given rise to psychological problems amongst children. The feeling of loneliness and lack of affection is causing trauma. This is very much true in case of growing children as they have impressionable minds. All this has been established after extensive research done in the United States. Schools have been advised to deal with this problem by creating additional facilities to help change the mindset of effected children.

In India, the number of trauma affected children is on the rise in metropolitan cities. Before this scourge spreads further we need to take proactive action. In reputed schools the gravity of situation is well understood and more and more schools are building trauma sensitive classrooms.

Accumulated experience of educators come in handy to establish classrooms bereft of traumatic images. It is a universally accepted fact that to change one’s mindset one must change the surroundings. The standard regimen followed in public schools must be relaxed to make the atmosphere congenial. The pedagogical circle must be trained to bring about the required transformation. The teachers have to be necessarily caring and sensitive to the needs of the students. They must be trained to deal with children who are suffering from trauma due to some reason or the other. They have to be true mentors and sincere educators predominantly endowed with humane feelings. His loving and caring image should purge the hearts of children and they should feel free to confide in him/her. At the same time schools must have trained and seasoned counselors to guide children. In fact all staff members must accord top priority to education, wellness & safety of students. Students have to be treated with dignity and the same should reflect in the classroom. The seating arrangement, the soft board position backed by mellow coloured walls has a smothering and deadening effect on traumatic thoughts. This newly created congenial space removes part of the deep rooted trauma. Over a period of time this turns out to be a beautiful world for children and learning becomes spontaneous and children are brought back to the mainstream when their cognitive faculties start functioning normally.

Sanjeev Sinha

Principal, Indian Public School, Dheradun [Uttarakhand]