Opinion
School Climate & Safety Letter to the Editor

Teaching Methods Can Overcome Toxic Stress in Children’s Lives

January 14, 2014 1 min read
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To the Editor:

Rebecca Shore’s letter to the editor (“History of Improvement Efforts Points to Early Years as Key,” Dec. 11, 2013) sheds light on a critical educational issue: children living in chronic insecurity and stress.

However, I disagree with her assertion that the outcome of such a childhood is hopeless.

Early-childhood deprivation is no longer a life sentence, thanks to neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain’s functioning to change into adulthood.

Most importantly, it’s educators who have the profound opportunity to make a difference through trauma-informed education. Teaching methods and school discipline policies that do not meet the learning and behavioral needs of children with toxic stress deny them the chance to reach their full potential.

Continuing to keep current and future teachers uninformed of what neuroscience can offer is the equivalent of professional abuse. It causes them and their students to remain confused and pained over learning and behavioral issues unnecessarily.

Educators have a serious responsibility to take advantage of brain research.

Barbara Oehlberg

Education and Child Trauma Consultant

Solon, Ohio

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A version of this article appeared in the January 15, 2014 edition of Education Week as Teaching Methods Can Overcome Toxic Stress in Children’s Lives

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