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Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,366 ratings  ·  154 reviews
Winner of the 2017 Association of American Publishers Golden Lamp Judges award.

In this galvanizing book for all educators, Kristin Souers and Pete Hall explore an urgent and growing issue--childhood trauma--and its profound effect on learning and teaching.

Grounded in research and the authors' experience working with trauma-affected students and their teachers, Fostering Re
Paperback, 215 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by ASCD
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Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
If you are new to public education and have never thought or heard about ACES and trauma sensitive classrooms, then this might be a decent introduction for you: the prose is certainly brisk, casual-collegial, and readable.
If, however, you have taught successfully in public schools for any length of time, you will likely have heard of and tried most of the potential interventions in the book already in the course of managing your own classes and maintaining your own enthusiasm for teaching. The
Donna Heitmann
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book, and others like it, should be required reading for all educators, especially those still pursuing their degree/certification. It is imperative for society in general, but especially anyone working with children, to increase their awareness and understanding of trauma and ACES. Souers offers many non-traditional strategies that most likely will challenge educators to step out of their comfort zone to view and address behaviors in a very different light. This can be especially challengi ...more
Leah Porter
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this as an educator and human being. Engaging, fast paced, with a lot of heart. Looking forward to implementing many of the things I learned from this book in the upcoming school year.
Nov 23, 2016 rated it liked it
The first 2/3 of the book is definitely worth reading, as Souers and Hall write about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) that impact the students in our classrooms and the adults in our lives. This has some powerful insights--that we don't need to know someone's story to support them; that we shouldn't be overly "soft" on students who have been through trauma to protect them, as we may ultimately handicap them more; that multiple ACEs can result in health issues as an adult; how we can help st ...more
Julie Tuck
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book about trauma and the effects it has on students and their learning environment. I especially liked the part about self-care: four components of self care include health, love, competence and gratitude.
Phil Jensen
Jul 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
What I wanted: A detailed explanation of how trauma changes the neurology of the brain and how to work with students who have suffered that type of damage.
What I got: A 200 page pep talk with some nice tips thrown in.

I think it really shows that this was written for teachers by people who are not teachers. I often felt like I was reading a watered down version of The Power of Our Words: Teacher Language That Helps Children Learn.

p. 29- Flight/Fight/Freeze responses. The difference between
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
As a school social worker, I have a difficult time rating this book since I have more training and knowledge about trauma than the intended audience. I think that this book would be good for new educators who have very little knowledge of trauma and it's physical and emotional impact on students. As a person of color, I felt that she did not address racial trauma and how that shows up at school. I would have liked her to go more in-depth regarding implicit bias of educators and school staff (who ...more
It feels unfair rating this book, since I have more training in this field than would be expected for the intended audience of the book. So who is the intended audience? I think this would be a great introduction to teachers and other school staff with little to no knowledge about trauma or ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) who want some insight and motivation on how to start moving their educational practice toward the trauma-sensitive. For those already experienced in running trauma-sensiti ...more
Erika Moreno
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Definitely a must read for educators. It’s not necessarily new and riveting information, but even for seasoned educators, it gives us the opportunity to take a step back and reflect on how we’re fostering resilient learners.
Holly Zehr
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! So practical and thoughtful, accessible and heartfelt. I started implementing practices for creating trauma responsive classroom management before I even finished the book. Highly recommended!
Kyrie Beckman
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book had simple strategies to implement right away to help students. It’s great to remember what we do and why we do it! I highly recommend for educators.
Heather Stringham
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helping Our Kids and Ourselves

This book gave me many ideas to consider and reflect on. It's not all about the curriculum; it's also about helping the children in our care.
Kathryn Fulton
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this book for all new and newish teachers!
Rochelle C
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't often write reviews but this book was amazing. If you work with children in any capacity, this should be a mandatory read. ...more
Erin Stocks
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
All educators should consider reading.
Ms. Morgan
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Nice introductory content. If you've already read up on ACEs or know a bit about trauma-informed teaching, this is probably not worth your time. ...more
Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very good tips, just not written in my style.
While the information in this book is certainly important for teachers and social workers to understand and discuss, the author grounds precious little of it in scholarship. Instead, Souers stock in trade is the idiomatic cliche; the book contains 200 pages and at least as many platitudes. The content is too important to be treated so ham-handedly.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very helpful read! This book will be revisited for strategies working with my students, parents and taking care of myself!
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rereading contemporaneously with beginning a new year with some higher than high ACES kids and wow, this book still gives good advice and strategies, but it is acutely more directed when you are in it, in it. Oooooooffff, what in the living fk are we doing to our children? We can do better and indeed, we must.

This was a terrific quick and worthwhile read. I loved the exercises throughout each chapter and the reflection questions. This would make a great book club read for educat
Craig Kind
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
The first half of this book is solid, but it falls apart in the second half. Seems like the author had a solid article that couldn't be stretched to a full book. Still, lots of good information and advice in that first half. ...more
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful book, that guided us in a better light to understand our students a lot better and our personal relationships too.

My favorite part I connected with most is when to connect with the right brain before redirecting with the left. 6 communication steps that will help us speak to each other in a healthy way.

1) Listen
2) Reassure
3) Validate
4) Respond
5) Repair
6) Resolve

Most of the time we skip steps 2,3 & 5
Which are essential to effective regulation and long term relationships. C
David Miller
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's good to have books like these, to remind you the work is worthwhile. As a teacher working at a specialized school, where trauma is a relevant factor virtually every single day, I found a lot of value in this book's perspectives. My colleagues and I found it especially useful to read the book together and talk about its applicability, point by point.

Since we read this book, there have been the usual struggles between balancing compassion for our students' backgrounds with effective disciplin
Spacek Kim
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beginning with the 2016-17 School Year the staff at Inchelium School District No. 70, Inchelium, WA, have been working with building resiliency in our students and trauma-based practices. This book helps the adult learner with self-care. One of the principles in this book is 'grace.' This is a hard strategy because most people look at this as human weakness, a weakness that can be taken advantage of. In reality, grace teaches that the person to whom grace is shown is loved and cared for. Another ...more
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it
It was an easy read and went very quickly. The author writes professionally but conversationally. I could focus pretty easily while reading this (whereas other textbook type books make me daydream).

This just wasn’t what I was looking for. I was hoping for a book of strategies and examples. Something that could TEACH me how to help these students that experience trauma.

Instead what I got was a book ph educational philosophy.

- Take cafe of yourself in order to take care of students!
- You don’t kno
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a very approachable book on the topic of creating trauma-sensitive classrooms, with one eye translating the academic discussion of trauma into everyday language, and one eye on supporting reflective practices on the part of the practitioner to effect a mindshift. Souers frequently uses metaphors to make the content accessible which I can sometimes find kitschy, but it worked in this version. The exercises recommended in each chapter are more than just thought questions, and are valuable ...more
Michelle Jarc
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
It took me a while to buy into what this author is selling. I think I’m the most skeptical of books that are all about a menu of how to be a good educator or how to deal with a certain type of student - but utterly lack the meat & potatoes. The author had some good points that really made me pause and reflect. I think most teachers at the halfway point of any school year start to feel that edge of burnout coming on. Our patience and tolerance start to unravel. This book gave me an opportunity to ...more
Brenda Yoho
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have reread this book to refresh my memory. I utilized this book as part of a new teacher mentoring program as a resource. When you are looking for resources to help build on information critical to your instructional practices or climate, look to build a professional library with resources to match your goals.
This book provides a great start to building a trauma-sensitive school. A great book to do as a team with questions at the end of chapters to guide your process. Research and proven stra
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
The book has some good tips for helping students and parents who are in emotional states. It also has a chapter on self-care. The statement ,"Everything we say to and do with our students and families must be done solely for their benefit, not our own. It's never about us. I repeat: it's not about you," was off putting, however. Teachers do a lot for little pay and give endlessly of themselves to the point of depletion. We should have a say when behaviors are continuously disrespectful or danger ...more
Very disappointing, very general textbook about working with students with trauma in the classroom. The shallowness of its coverage and advice is alarming and the examples given are pretty slight also, all anecdotal. This book reads more like a talk given my a motivational speaker ready to visit your school any day now. Not a very effective approach to dealing with children with trauma and no mention of immigrant and refugee children who may have experienced trauma getting to the US. Very disapp ...more
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