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Trauma-Aware Education

Contemporary Understanding & Practical Implementation

Dr Judith Howard


Thursday, 25 July 2024


9:00am - 3:00pm


The George Hotel

50 Park Terrace
Christchurch Central 8013


Lunch & Tea Break Catering

Workshop Notes


Bookshop at Seminar

Now, more than ever, in a world of stress, disadvantage and unpredictability, schools struggle to manage the confronting needs of some of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable learners- those suffering complex trauma. This type of trauma stems from repeated interpersonal harm done to children, including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, significant neglect, and the experience of family or other relational violence. These young people present with increased cognitive, emotional, and behavioural challenges at school. Behaviour management techniques that may work for most students often fail when used with trauma-impacted children.
Trauma-aware education provides a refreshed and informed way of supporting and educating young learners who have lived through significant harm and deserve our best efforts.

In this day-long seminar, Dr Judith Howard will explain what a trauma-aware approach to education is and why is it vital? She will draw from science and other research to examine the impact of complex trauma on the development and education experience of children and young people and will explain, with great examples, how educators and other support professionals, education sites, and education systems can respond to address this impact.

Some of the key discussion points that will be covered include:

  • The impacts of complex trauma.
  • The evidence-base for trauma-aware education.
  • A paradigm shift in the way learner behaviours are ‘managed’, including a suite of effective strategies that can be incorporated into a trauma-aware education response.
  • Maintaining well-being for educators and other support professionals.

Participants will leave with a thorough understanding of the impacts of stress and trauma, while also building their toolboxes with trauma-sensitive strategies that can be implemented immediately in their work and educational setting. This seminar is a must for all educators, school administrators, and other helping professionals who work in or with schools.

Dr Judith Howard is an Associate Professor in the School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education at the Queensland University of Technology. She has an extensive career history with schooling in Queensland. She has worked as a teacher, guidance counselor and behaviour support specialist and has held both regional and state positions overseeing work in student behaviour support. She has led the development of the Australian “National Guidelines for Trauma-Aware Education”, and is the author of two books, “Distressed or Deliberately Defiant: Managing Challenging Student Behaviour due to Trauma and Disorganised Attachment”, and “Trauma-Aware Education: Essential information and guidance for educators, education sites, and education systems”. She is the principal chair of the biennial “Trauma-Aware Schooling Conference” held in Australia. Dr Howard’s work has had a keen focus on the concerns of children and young people who have experienced complex trauma. She promotes a neuroscience informed approach - to which she believes every educator and worker in every primary and secondary school and early childhood service needs access.