The Importance of Narrative: Moving Towards Sociocultural Understandings of Trauma-Informed Praxis
Dominant framings of trauma-informed pedagogy are currently grounded in a purely biomedical understanding of trauma, often locating ‘problems’ to be solved in individual students or communities, and engendering ‘solutions’ that focus on discourses of self-regulation and control. While these framings are slowly giving way to broader environmental understandings of trauma and marginalized youth, a deeper understanding of ecologies of privilege, disposession, and relationships to/with trauma is needed to understand the role(s) that schooling might play in mitigating traumatic experiences and their effects on young people. In particular, many students of color who are working-class or experiencing poverty must navigate racialized, gendered, and classed hierarchies alongside labels positioning them as ‘bad’ students as they work to earn a high school diploma and enact desired post-secondary life paths. This paper draws on data from an ongoing study of adolescent scholars in a “second-chance” trauma-informed secondary-level program, and offers selections from a focus group that demonstrates the importance of young people’s meaning-making when exploring what might make for generative “trauma-informed” pedagogies. Specifically, this paper argues for a focus on identity work and narrative to further ecological understandings of privilege, dispossession, and how young people take up trauma discourse to make meaning of their past experiences, their current realities, and their future possibilities.
The Importance of Narrative: Moving Towards Sociocultural Understandings of Trauma-Informed Praxis.
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