To the Editor:
Your recent four-part series on school climate and student behaviors offered practical strategies for schools and teachers (“Rethinking Discipline,” Oct. 17 through Nov. 7, 2012). However, addressing critical issues in education has traditionally required identifying root causes when determining solutions—something which regrettably was nearly absent in the series. Focusing only on symptoms does not generate lasting resolutions.
Current neuroscience research can provide insights into learning and behavioral issues, which in turn can lead to proactive guidelines that can offer emotionally secure classrooms without jeopardizing the learning process and academic achievement.
Infants who are not afforded the opportunity to form secure attachments miss out on critical early brain development. A child’s capacity for self-regulation, stress management, and empathy is determined by early nurturing. Those children who miss out do not have the neurological wiring for developing these skills, which are essential for the learning process.
School and classroom attempts to manage disruptive student behaviors through disciplinary policies will undermine the emotional security of distressed students and lower their academic achievement. To successfully reach and teach today’s students requires trauma-informed education practices.
Education and Child Trauma Consultant
A version of this article appeared in the December 05, 2012 edition of Education Week as School Climate Series Could Have Gone Further