Learning about Trauma-Informed Education with Heather Batchelor
February 9, 2021
human-centered education programs

By rethinking school programming as a means to challenge socially constructed barriers and a springboard toward greater understanding, we can reform our societies–one classroom at a time.

Podcast guest Dr. Heather Batchelor has used her passion for reframing teaching to create a Masters in Teaching program that prepares teachers to address these social constructs. These teachers-in-training focus their studies on trauma-informed education, resilience, and restorative justice. She’s also creating an undergraduate minor to build empathy through students learning about unjust systems and serving as literacy tutors in the prison system.

Wouldn’t it be great if all of our schools modeled healthy relationships and provided the opportunity for kids to practice healthy relationship skills and empathy to lower the amount of trauma in our society?

About Heather Batchelor:

Dr. Heather Batchelor is an experienced educator who has taught in both middle and high school settings. She now trains graduate students at Westminster College. She specializes in creating trauma-responsive classroom environments, resilience-building, and restorative justice in schools, and culturally sensitive classrooms. She also designed and was the lead teacher of a dropout prevention program at a rural high school founded in trauma-responsive practices, building leadership capacity, and promoting strong communities.

Jump Through the Conversation

[3:30] Understanding what it means to be ‘trauma-informed’
[5:25] Exploring the true nature of resilience
[6:25] Restorative Justice Tier 1: an investment in community in our schools
[10:00] Creating a college minor degree tied to justice and literacy via prison tutoring
[14:18] Creating alternatives to peer court via partnerships/relationships that instill hope
[18:16] Obstacles to providing a meaningful educational environment
[22:18] Turbo Time Questions with Heather
[28:14] Heather’s Magic Wand: That every community is dedicated to ending cycles of trauma by investigating root causes, providing social support, and taking ownership for ways each community has created the context that allows trauma

Links and Resources:

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Transcript

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Hello fellow parents and educators. Thank you for joining me at education evolution, where we are disrupting the status quo in today’s learning models. We talk about present day education, what’s broken, who’s fixing it and how. I’m Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your host and founder of education, evolution and the micro school coalition, where we are fiercely committed to changing the narrative to reimagining the education landscape, and creating learning that serves all children and prepares them to thrive.

If you are new, welcome to the podcast. Please subscribe on our website to get it delivered to your inbox weekly. If you’ve been around a while, have you left a review? Welcome, Heather.

Heather Batchelor
Hi, Maureen. How are you tonight?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Great. It is so good to have you. Education evolution listeners, we get to talk to Heather bachelor tonight. And she has done progressive work in teacher training of trauma informed education, resilience, and restorative justice. This is so important. So education evolution listeners, get ready to be schooled. Heather, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us your story?

Heather Batchelor
Sure. I am currently a teacher at Westminster College. I’m a faculty member in our Masters of Arts in Teaching. And this year, for the first time, we are running a new masters of education program in trauma, resilience and restorative justice that I designed. And I am so excited because for me, it feels really like a culmination of the work that I have been moving towards my entire life. Before Westminster, I taught middle school and high school at school district in Massachusetts. And that really informed much of the work that I do now I worked with a wonderful population of young people was able to put together a dropout prevention program in our district, because we have high levels of dropout. And what I really discovered was that if you provide students an education, rich and connection and relevant work, and help them in the lagging skills that they might have, so that they can be successful, you can really transform schools. So that has informed everything I have done since then.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
I love that and I so agree, and education rich in connections, if they’re connected if they feel like they’re safe relationships, and then if it’s relevant and something that they’re interested in, you know, we expect that as adults, why wouldn’t we want that for our kids, and I love that things are coming together and culminating. I feel like that’s where I’m in my career too. And it’s so nice to take that in the trenches experience, and then to find ways that we can now be the people giving back. I love that you’ve created a new Master’s, that’s so relevant. Can you unpack for us a little bit? trauma informed resilience, restorative justice? I, I know, that’s education lingo. And not all of our listeners may know what that really entails?

Heather Batchelor
Sure, well, being trauma informed, I think can be a moving target at times, right. But fundamentally, what it is, is we seek to understand the physiology of trauma and the way that traumatic experiences can shape brain chemistry in individuals. And once we know that, and once we can identify some of the behaviors that we might see as a result of that. We can intervene in ways that are helpful for students to learn the skills and develop the skills they need to be successful in school and in life, as opposed to assuming that kids come to us and they’re bad kids, right? They’re making decisions about not doing what we want. And once we shift that perspective to think about, well, they’re just lacking the skills to do what they need to do, we can transform the learning environment for them.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
That seems like such a Yoda Zen like step back from judging and labeling, and looking at a behavior as perhaps a deficit that needs some more skills to help change it. And I wish that for our teachers. I also wish that they had a lot smaller class load and they weren’t preparing for state tests, you know that they had a sane job. So they’d have The bandwidth. But boy, wouldn’t it be nice for all of us to be given that grace and not be judged?

Heather Batchelor
Absolutely. And I think these are such transferable skills to life. Yes. relationships. And in our workplaces, I think they’re, they’re things that bring long term learning that really can benefit us all in the long run.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Yes. And now resilience, how would you describe that?

Heather Batchelor
Resilience, I think, is the ability to face challenging situations and keep moving through. I see a lot with what’s happening right now, in COVID. I see a lot of lagging, resilience skills, to be honest, and so important, and I think we’re realizing now how important it is that we teach these skills, because we have a lot of young people in crisis, because they are really having to be resilient at the moment. And so that’s how I would define resilience and how we go about teaching.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
And here we are covering content in a textbook to make sure that kids know every aspect of the biology textbook, but they biologically they can’t keep themselves safe. And well. And wouldn’t it be nice if we could get just lifelong skills instead of content that they could Google on their phone? Should they need it, I, you are so ahead of the curve on this and talk about the third component of your master’s program, the restorative justice.

Heather Batchelor
So restore justice is a way to solve conflict. And it has a lot of different levels. One of the biggest ones that I see the overlap of trauma informed practices comes at what educators might call the tier one level and the universal strategies that we do for all kids. And that is just community building in our schools, and helping people to know each other and to understand each other. And then the idea is, if you have an existing community, when conflict arises, it’s much easier to engage in solving that conflict. And harder just to engage in blaming behaviors, or pointing the finger or stereotyping other people in their motivations for doing what they did. And so it also can graduate to more serious offenses, where you’re thinking about discussing things using effective language and thinking about how you sit in a space and really resolve conflict, and you meet the needs of the victim and encourage the people who’ve committed the harm to take accountability, true accountability for what they’ve done. And then to change. And to, you know, what we might call doing sorry, to show through their actions that they have remorse for what they did not just saying, sorry.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Love it. That makes such good sense. Being a microscope, we have community and teachers that are back after a number of years and kids that are back. And it makes it really hard because there isn’t the other, we can’t just say oh, we can’t just write somebody off, because that’s somebody that we did a science project with last week, you know, or somebody that we might have carpooled with or so I really think that we can get to restorative justice and community building and getting to see and know others and be seen and known, can really play a big role in that I, I think having a Masters on this and helping train up teachers going into the classroom with this, anybody can go through a textbook and go through the teacher’s edition and pull out dead content, you’re talking context, you’re talking life skills, you’re talking skills that can keep our kids alive.

Heather Batchelor
And it requires that you really know your students. Right. Yeah. relationships with them.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Yeah. And relationships. I keep coming back to that all of the different educational innovators I talked to keep coming back to relationships, regardless what model what design, what piece of it. And we’re not going to have that if we keep this assembly line model where I’ve got five groups of ninth grade English 30 kids in each by the end of the day, I’ve seen 150 kids not gonna happen. So I think we’re ready to dismantle high schools and and build in the resilience, the the restorative justice, understand the trauma informed pieces and, and really start to have human centered learning and you’re preparing teachers to hit the ground running with that.

Heather Batchelor
Oh, you know, I hope so. I am so hopeful for what is going to change in education by talking to the students that I have now and seeing their hope and seeing their desire to really make meaningful change in their classrooms. So I’m actually quite inspired by working with them.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Nice, yes. What else are you up to? I mean, you are super busy preparing tomorrow’s teachers, but what else is on your heart or what else are you in the midst of?

Heather Batchelor
You know, I definitely have always someone who has a project in the fire. So, so right now I’m working on two potential projects. One is to give opportunities to my undergraduate students who have an undergraduate sequence in these courses as well. Nice to work tutoring people who are incarcerated in prisons in the Salt Lake metro area, and thinking about literacy and adult education, and also to see the ways in which education can provide hope in an alternative pathway forward for people who’ve been incarcerated. So that’s one project that I’m working on.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
I’m gonna stop you on that one. Because to me, we just think about the other and community. And my guess is a lot of your students go in there kind of like oh, golpe, I know, I had to work as a young assistant principal with some sex offenders. And I wasn’t a whole lot older than they were. And I was so scared, and I met them. And they were just messed up teenagers that had had messed up childhoods. And I was like, I didn’t need to be afraid, you know, my guess is that this is going to be about getting to know the other and getting to be vulnerable. And it’s going to be a lot more than a literacy program. Tell me more some of the win wins that you you foresee in this?

Heather Batchelor
Well, you know, I think one of the biggest ones you put your finger on already, it’s this idea that all people have inherent humanity, right, that we are not as different as we think. And if provided opportunity and hope and the support they need. All people can lead successful lives. So that honestly is the biggest takeaway that I hope my students get from the program.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Yes, wow. Life Changing and for them to get to live, and see and experience so much in context and the importance of literacy and understand perhaps a little of the institutional inequities that it may have led to the lack of literacy and the the prison pipeline that they’re seeing the results of,

Heather Batchelor
Absolutely. And that’s why those students who take the courses are going to have to have taken either my restorative justice class or the juvenile justice class that I teach on the undergraduate level. And we really talk about systemic inequities in those classes. Because I don’t think it would be the same experience if you didn’t have a sense of what those were before going in.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Exactly. And there’s so much we have to learn my, my teachers right now, it’s so cool. I was just listening to a podcast that they had all the students listen to this week, talk about race and talking about the human genome and talking about the social constructs. And if there’s so much we have to unlearn, and so much information, we have to truly understand what we’re 99.9%, I could be more related to this black man next to me than this white woman on the other side of me. I just think we have a lot of serious relearning, unlearning, and getting rid of some social constructs and using information to start to be better humans and break some of this stuff down.

Heather Batchelor
There’s a lot of unlearning, we have to do as well, just to get to a place of empathy. You know, I think that is the biggest fallout from the other end we do have people in the society is that we fail to make those empathetic connections that we might if we saw people as more like us than we do. Yes.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Yeah. And I, again, really want high schools to own that, that if we’re assembly lines, and we don’t see the the individual student, if we’re just like, nope, you’re a ninth grader. Here’s Romeo and Juliet, here’s your algebra book, if we don’t see the humanity in each of our students, and we just cram content into them and send them off to take their state tests. How do we expect them to feel love to feel empathy? If we don’t feel it? How can we give it to others. So you’re talking huge systemic pieces.

Heather Batchelor
Definitely.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
So that was project one, you have more going on?

Heather Batchelor
I just want a day conceived of another project that I want to pursue. And it stems from sitting in on some of the pure court proceedings here in Salt Lake, which is an interesting model. But personally, well, I think there could be some real benefits to the model, I was less than satisfied with some of the outcomes that I saw. It felt like that the students who were there there was still more judging than then was optimal. And I think there was a real sense that no relationships were built, even though that was one of the premises that the court was sort of based on. And so I started thinking like, what could you do to create real partnerships and create relationships and again, and instill some potential hope and so I’ve been toying with this idea, and I don’t know that I like the name but might the first name that popped into my head was sentenced to school and the ideas is to see if My college or perhaps a local community college would be interested in partnering with the juvenile system here in Salt Lake to create a course where it’s half college students and half students that have come through this adjudication process that is being diverted from the juvenile court to take a course, where collectively as a group, they choose a community issue, to address research and create some action plan towards solving in our community. And then hopefully, we’d be able to give them college credit as part of it, as well. So

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
You’re back to what you mentioned before, you’re so brilliant Heather community, if we feel a sense of belonging, and high school kids, crazy cool to be hanging out with a 20 year old or a 22 year old. And then relevant learning hated, there’s this problem. And we can be a part of the solution, as opposed to read this chapter and take this test, you may never need to know what cosine is again, but do it anyhow. Again, you’re walking your talk and creating a way that also the other unit, I think it would be help our college kids have more empathy and help our high school kids aspire to, hey, I could go this direction. So you’re trailblazing My dear?

Heather Batchelor
Well, we’ll see how it manifests itself. I’ve started to talk to some folks in the community that I know work in the justice system here to see if it’s something that seems floatable. So we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. Maybe the next time I talk to you, we’ll be talking about that.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
I think so we’ll have to have you back on. I’m on the Lake Washington School District community truancy board. And we’re a team of community members and school counselors that meet to help try and keep kids from going to court. And I love it. And I love problem-solving with the parents and the kids. But they really just have like a couple of options, you know, they can break their day down. And they can form some relationships, but they have to make it through all the checkboxes have the public school, which is the problem for a lot of the kids. So it’s like, darn, I wish we could give them so many more options. And then I’m in a private school. Now I’m like, oh, we’ll take them we have sliding scale tuition. But I have to keep my mouth shut and just problem solve, how to get them back into public school. And I think getting kids into a college class while they’re in high school with college kids and a real project. That’s helpful on so many levels. Good interview Heather.

Heather Batchelor
And it speaks to not viewing young people through a deficit lens, which I think is so important, right, so that they come to the class with something to offer as well. They’re not just there to get some sort of treatment or pure mentorship, right, that what they bring is important and valuable as well. I think so often our schools don’t send kids that message.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Right? Well, it’s because they are a deficit, guys, you’ve got to do better in the state test so we can get our funding. Come on you guys. You’ve got to do I’ve got to get through my there’s so many goddess that are just soul-sucking for teachers that they’re soul-sucking for kids. Yeah.

So as you’re working on the different pieces with your masters, and working with your teachers and training and stuff, and even trying to get these projects going, what are some of the biggest struggles or obstacles that you run into?

Heather Batchelor
I’d say the structure of school, just what you just don’t you know, the things you’ve been outlining for us this whole time, right? So you said 30 people in a classroom? I think many teachers that I know would love to have 30 people? Oh, I have some phys ed teachers who have 60 kids in their classes, right? How do you provide an individualized community based experience? When you have 60 kids that come in every 45 minutes? Right? There’s there’s simply no time? How do you provide meaningful community based instruction or the opportunities to do meaningful work? When you have a department chair that says we’re giving up social studies and science this week to do more rote math instruction, and more reading practice so that our kids will score well on these tests? Yes. And so I think just those structures in and of itself, can kill the spirit of well-meaning teachers, and it’s certainly can really make the experience for our students in schools. It can make it just disastrous for a lot of them. So I think we have to change the structures.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
I completely agree. And I think that means we need to have policymakers we need to have people at the government level stop mandating these dead tests we need to school leaders that are courageous and saying no, we also need to get past this false nostalgia that Oh, the good old days in high school, any parent that clings to that and they look at our alternative, and they’re like, I don’t know, I want my kid to have everything. Anything they say it’s like, I loved the pep assemblies. I loved building sets for the drama. I love being in band I loved. They’re talking about the extracurriculars, nobody’s that I loved sitting in ninth grade science every day, you know. So I think we have to hit this from parents that are seeing kids at home struggling over dead content and remembering, oh, gosh, that did stink. Parents have to help school leaders policymakers. And that’s why I love micro, just the idea of micro school, within a school, start a small little school, start a college, like the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, start something small in your high school, get small, so you can get relational and these microcomponents can grow. But big. That’s why I’m not in I’m running a big school anymore. Biggest, just really hard and it’s really transactional.

Heather Batchelor
It is indeed, you know, the thing when you said the good old days that I always think about is, you know, in the good old days, we have 30% of our kids drop out of high school, right? And so when we say Oh, it used to be easy, you know, and but our measures were that we had 30% of our students leaving, right? You’re being forced out. And if we truly are committed to educating every kid, and ensuring that they are leaving our schools, life and career ready, it changes the equation for and it changes what we are expected to do.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Yes, yes. And I know you can land on your feet a lot easier in my day and age, you know, you could go to work in a lot more vocational fields and the lack of a high school diploma wasn’t as big of a deficit. So right, yeah, the good old days, they were never as glossy. They can’t be especially with adolescence, you the highs, the lows, the hormones of being in high school, there’s a lot of anxiety that everybody goes through. So I glossing over. That is is something else. Let me ask you some turbo time questions just to get a sense of you because there’s a lot going on. So just some fun stuff. And I stole this from Andrew Marotta, who had me on his podcast, I love that this just gives snapshots. What’s the last book you read?

Heather Batchelor
Right now I am finishing up the most amazing book. It’s called until we reckon by Daniel suredbits. A book on restorative justice. I’m willing to this semester now. So I’m limited to reading what we read in my glasses. So I’m rereading it, but it is phenomenal. It’s one of the most important books I’ve read in my life.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
I get so many good titles. I just finished reading a book that somebody else had recommended on the podcast. So I look forward to adding this to my list. Heather, two inspirational folks in history that you’d love to meet.

Heather Batchelor
Whenever I get asked this question like, you know, and it’s often like, who would you invite for dinner? You know, from Yeah. And I just think that people that I want to meet are the ordinary people, the everyday people who just got up and fought for what they believed in. So I would take any person that you know, was on the frontline of social change in a nameless, faceless capacity to hear about their experience.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Wouldn’t that be powerful? Love that favorite place to travel?

Heather Batchelor
Anywhere on my bicycle. I love biking. We travel all over writing and you’ve gone overseas. And long as I’m on two wheels. I’m happy.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
If the Northwest our islands out here, you could have fun days traveling around and love it. Wake down the West Coast. So Oh, my Yay. Very cool. What’s a TED talk that inspires you?

Heather Batchelor
The danger of a single story is the name of it. And it is so powerful. It’s all about the ways in which we make assumptions about people and the way we come to stereotype people often without even knowing.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Oooh that one sounds important. What’s a pet peeve of yours?

Heather Batchelor
People who are not on time, and it’s always funny because at some point when we’re talking about identifying your personal triggers, I will mention that to my students and I see half of them who’ve come late to class just drop their hand and embarrassment and trigger I’m working on.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Love it. What’s the biggest thing you wish for knew about trauma?

Heather Batchelor
That it is more pervasive than you think. Such a high percentage of people who have experienced trauma are and are suffering. And they don’t feel like they have a place to talk about it, they don’t feel like their experiences are legitimized. And if we, I think understood just how pervasive it was, we would be a much better country.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Yeah, hopefully gentler, and giving people more grace. That’s definitely something to aspire to add to less trauma in the world.

Heather Batchelor
Right, because I think trauma generally happens within the context of a relationship. So relationship is the way out of it. And so when we understand that people are experiencing it, I think we are more willing to reach out to them to make those connections,

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
The relationship is the way out of it. And also, if we could have more work on relationships in school where kids spend so much of their time, wouldn’t it be great if they could just gain some healthy self regulation, self communication, self advocacy, boundary setting, in school? Yeah, all of that, as well as getting a little math, a little English, but getting all these skills so that they wouldn’t be traumatized. They wouldn’t traumatize others, and they could be grace filled and empathetic to those that have experienced trauma. Yeah, yes. What’s the favorite thing about Utah?

Heather Batchelor
Ooh, again, I feel like a broken record. But the outdoors, the trails in the mountains here are amazing. So many good places to get out and about and to be in nature.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Yes. something positive that has come out of this COVID time.

Heather Batchelor
I think, our recognition about the importance of connection and our importance of being together and being human together, and exploring what is going well, and the things that we are suffering from. It’s just not the same, I think when you do it over a screen, and so I think people have a real recognition for that maybe in a way that they did not a year ago.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Yes, I think so, too. We had kids at least one day a week in person just because oh my gosh, we need each other we need connection. And our teachers are great online, but screen is two dimensional. It’s just not the same. What’s something about you that people may not know?

Heather Batchelor
That I am a secret introvert?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Oh.

Heather Batchelor
I am I think I come across as very extroverted. Certainly, when teaching you know, I can I have that piece of my personality, but it’s left to my own devices. Living in a, you know, the middle of the woods in a little cabin by itself.

That sounds appealing.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Last question. I always like to end with a magic wand. Because to me, that’s helpful if anything were possible. So if you had a magic wand, and could do anything in relation to trauma, where would you start?

Heather Batchelor
I would have every community everywhere, selflessly dedicated to ending cycles of trauma in their communities.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Nice, what would that look like to be dedicated to ending cycles of trauma?

Heather Batchelor
Well, I think it would be being willing to investigate the root causes of why things are happening, to provide the social supports that people need to not experience the things that people experienced that cause trauma. And I think also taking ownership as a community of the conditions that exist, that also contribute to traumatic experience.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Oh, say more on that?

Heather Batchelor
Well, you know, that is, I think, for me, one of the most profound pieces of restorative justice, that things don’t happen in a vacuum, right? When a wrong has been harmed. It is not just about the individual that caused harm. It is also about the context in which it happened. And the community often has responsibility for that context. And so as a community, we can hold people accountable within our spaces, but also take accountability for what has manifested that behavior. I think that’s when real change happens because it becomes our problem, not your problem.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Yeah, and and no, but none of us are off the hook. Then what are we doing in schools? What are we doing? Right now in the country western music scene, you know, where they’re taking a stand on, you know, what are we doing in all of these different communities to say no. And to own up to what we haven’t done? Nobody’s off the hook, are we Heather? Right? Well, thank you so much for your amazing work and for transforming how teachers are prepared as they go into the schools. I think that’s super important. And now we just need to transform the systems we send them into, right,

Heather Batchelor
Exactly. Well, and I’ll say your work inspires me as well. So I’m so glad you’re doing the things that you’re doing.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Thank you. And thanks for joining us today.

Heather Batchelor
Thanks.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy
Heather is a kindred spirit. And I always enjoy diving into how schools can evolve and serve all students in a human centered way. Today was no exception. I’m impressed by people who take their career have experiences, and then seeing a need create solutions to address that need. Heather has the perfect background for the wonderful projects she is bringing to life. And talk about an amazing graduate program that she’s created a master’s in teaching that focuses on being trauma informed resiliency, and restorative justice. While there is a lot of research in the field of trauma right now. We call it aces, a lot of times acute childhood experiences. And we’re seeing that a lot of these traumas happen when a child is really young. And there are brain development implications. So preparing teachers to understand trauma, and how it’s impacting a child is so important. We need to be able to intervene in ways that help and are without judgment. And I know it’s easy to judge other people’s behaviors. I’ve definitely been guilty of assumptions and judgments. And I know it’s easy and more convenient just to put a label on a person than to work to understand to create bridges, and to have empathy. So Heather, thank you for the reminder to look beyond the behaviors and to be empathetic. resiliency is something we so want to see more of for teens, the anxiety, the depression, the suicides, the attempted suicides, we need our kids to have a ton of experience with bouncing back. We also know that kids need to feel safe and loved before they’re willing to explore different strategies. And so we’ve got to create community. Community, as Heather said, it’s not going to happen a huge barrier is our old high school model, where kids are assembly line through teachers don’t get the luxury of forming relationships, and working on these crazy important skills, because they’re so busy preparing kids for state tests and making sure they can check off all the Common Core State standard boxes. So we all need to be demanding that systems change. This means politicians have to back off on state testing and valuing memorization and content over the context that our kids are living in. Heather has a lot of really helpful ideas. And the way she’s helping to train teachers is amazing. The restorative justice piece can help us all look at our systems differently. Look at our schools differently, look at consequences for misbehaviors differently. We have a lot we can be learning right along with Heather and her students. Wasn’t it great to hear about her project to provide undergraduates with the opportunity to tutor incarcerated people after the same students have become aware of our injustices, the racism of our history in and just understand the system so that they have a context. And then they’ll be able to go in and use empathy and discover that inherent worth. In every human that Heather talked about.

I see all the time. How wonderful multi age is in my microwave school. So I love her project of sentenced to school. What a great idea to have a course with college and high school students. Together, identifying a problem they care about, and then creating a solution and the action steps to make that solution happen. This passion based learning is so powerful, we all do better learning when we have a reason and when we’re engaged and when we have people that we want to be learning with. So I think she’s really onto something here. And I also value that she’s reframing juvenile delinquents, and we often see them through a deficit lens. So to start seeing them as problem solvers means that they can also start to see themselves that way. And isn’t that what we want to be mirrors for the potential in our youth? When Heather observed, the trauma is more pervasive than we think that felt really sad and also important. So as the awareness that trauma tends to happen in relationships, we end up hurting each other way too often. Wouldn’t it be great for our schools to be an opportunity for kids to practice healthy relationship skills, and use relationships as a part of the solution to lower the amount of trauma in our society. I would love for our schools to be a place that we can focus on giving kids a chance to practice being amazing humans and filling up their toolkit with all of this emotional intelligence, and not just filling up their heads with rote learning. As I look at Heather’s magic one, I was impressed by the layers that she unpacked when she talked about we want to end the cycles of trauma. I think sometimes we jump right to the solutions, but we do we have to understand what are the root causes? And what social supports might help us and taking that mirror and aiming it back at us? What about our own communities? How are we a part of creating traumas, lots of work there to make Heather’s magic wand vision of ending cycles of trauma, a reality. And it is so great to have Heather as a wayshower on this journey. I’m loving hearing from the people on our podcast, these commonalities that we want to be relational and human centered, and focusing on positive and relevant learning for our kids. Thank you, Heather, for being a wonderful guest today.

If you’re finding yourself thinking, I need to do this in my school. Let’s talk about it. I consult with schools to help them find new innovative solutions to reaching every student. Let’s put together an action plan. Visit education evolution.org backslash consult to book a call and let’s get started. Education evolution listeners, you are the ones to ensure we create classrooms where each student is seen, heard, valued and thriving. We need you. Let’s go out and reach every student today. I’d be so grateful if you’d head over to your podcast app to give a great rating and review if you found this episode valuable. Don’t wait. Please do it right now before you forget. I really appreciate it. Thank you for listening, signing off. I am Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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