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Open Access Rethinking traditional behaviour management to better support complex trauma-surviving students

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Children and adolescents who have survived complex trauma have suffered the type of ongoing and repeated traumatic experience that includes factors such as physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse, significant neglect, and/or family violence. Complex childhood trauma (sometimes referred to as paediatric or child maltreatment-related post traumatic stress disorder) (De Bellis and Kuchibhatla, 2006) can have a significant impact on the developing nervous system, which can lead to impairment in the capacity to relate and to emotionally self-regulate. During the schooling years, this can lead to the presentation of concerning school behaviours, to which schools tend to respond with equally concerning punitive consequences, often involving practices of exclusion. This article will emphasize the importance of schools accessing learnings from neuroscience and then encompassing them into their behaviour management policies and practices. Neuroscience has provided an extra explanatory framework to complement understandings of student behaviour drawn from the clinical sciences. It is not only explaining why and how some of these student behaviours occur but is also providing a different template of possibility for enhancing the educational and life outcomes for this vulnerable group of young people through more effective and more inclusive school practices.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • The only journal of its kind, the International Journal on School Disaffection is an international, peer-reviewed journal that provides a forum for multi-disciplinary dialogue about influences and outcomes relating to school disengagement, low attainment, and early school leaving. The journal is open to a wide range of perspectives: sociological, historical, philosophical, psychological, criminological, and educational. Its priority is to support work that seeks to engage and re-engage children and young people and to develop critical and scholarly debate around school disaffection.
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