Difficult Knowledge, Trauma Informed Pedagogy and Safe-ish Spaces

Trauma-Informed Pedagogy & Safe-ish Spaces | Teaching in Troubled Times | UC Berkeley

The amount [of resources] we have should not be the operating principle for which you dream and imagine what you want to do.
Elisa Huerta
There is a performative expectation especially of people of color, expectations of bringing your voice to the classroom to speak to traumas, but there are ways of doing that in which we perpetuate traumatic experiences .
Elida Bautista
[Generosity] is humanist, not humanitarian. It is not condescension, not paternalism.
Zeus Leonardo

Event Description

Violence and trauma are all around us—fatal shootings by police, sexual violence, family separations, addiction, abuse, displacement of refugees. Often, these situations give rise to individual healing journeys and collective efforts to create change. But the pain and loss embedded in them also have a damaging effect long after the events have passed.

We invite many difficult experiences into our classrooms, historically intimate and distant, often through written and visual text depicting traumatic events and experiences. At the same time, we have many students bringing a history of trauma into the classroom, fighting a variety of battles that have been woven into their lives from childhood. Exploring the impact of this emotional and intellectual terrain, and on whom, is increasingly rooted in our pedagogy, and yet also entangled in dilemmas and sharp concerns.