Why Understanding Student Trauma is More Important Than Teaching “Grit”

Crossposted on Young People's Pavilion

So, what are those challenges? If a hypothetical classroom of 30 children was based on current demographics in the United States, this is how the students in that classroom would live: Seven would live in poverty; 11 would be non-white; six wouldn’t speak English as a first language; six wouldn’t be reared by their biological parents; one would be homeless; and six would be victims of abuse.

... writes Aisha Sultan in the Atlantic.

There are some great children's books that address trauma and help students deal with it.  I found this article 11 Kids’ Books On Dealing With Loss, Grief, Illness And Trauma, particularly helpful.

The author states: "When children experience serious illness, loss, grief or trauma, it’s crucial to allow them to express and cope with emotions while at the same time, helping them understand, as developmentally appropriate as possible, what is happening. As parents and caregivers help children process these often times new and intense emotions."

Sultan continues:

I was reminded of this conversation during a recent presentation by Tyrone C. Howard on how student culture affects learning. Howard, the associate dean for equity and inclusion at UCLA, provided a reality check to the heavy investment in skills such as grit that might help more students succeed. ... We are asking students to change a belief system without changing the situation around them ... It can be irresponsible and unfair to talk about grit without talking about structural challenges, ... referring to the recent interest in interventions tied to the concepts of grit and perseverance.

PHOTO CREDIT: Wiki Commons
John H. White, 1945-, Photographer
Environmental Protection Agency.
12/02/1970