Guest Contributors: Allyson Eamer, Amea Wilbur, Katie Crossman, and Jennifer Allore
This blog is the second in a two-part series on trauma in the classroom. Part 1 discusses how teachers can better facilitate learning and provide support for students who have experienced trauma, such as refugees. This segment focuses on vicarious trauma?
Vicarious trauma is a form of second-hand trauma. It is experienced by people in helping professions when they are deeply affected by their exposure to others’ trauma. The term was coined in 1995 by Laurie Pearlman and Karen Saakvitne, and originally was used to describe symptoms that clinicians experienced from working with clients with trauma experiences. Vicarious trauma has since been recognized in other fields. It can occur in various ways, such as listening to traumatic stories or viewing disturbing images.
Due to the immense changes in society and the way people communicate in the past 50 years, communication methods are now multimodal, and people need literacy skills that go beyond books. As Tarc (2013) writes, “In our current multicultural societies, it is hard to identify one’s identity and their understanding and background, in order to avoid possible misunderstandings,” (p. viii) and such considerations need to take place now that global migration is at its highest and daily interactions occur with people from different countries than ourselves. Whether or not people have experienced migration and/or immigration personally, many of the people they interact with on a daily basis are likely to have been born somewhere else; even without this interaction, the accessibility to the internet means that no one is isolated in their own “corner” of the world. Digital and print media tools can be used by educators to help students develop critical literacies skills, so that they can be more participatory and contemplative global citizens.
If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, January 12, on Hopes, Goals, and Priorities in 2021. Below is a recap of the December 8 chat written by #CdnELTchat moderator Bonnie Nicholas.