Trauma-Informed Pedagogy


This Trauma-Informed and Healing-Centered pedagogies module is responsive to broad experiences of individual and community trauma in relation to academic settings, teaching, and learning. While the topics discussed herein vary in breadth and depth, the goal is to provide language, guidelines, frameworks, tools, and supportive resources to support faculty members and students as they navigate the complex layers of trauma and healing.  

Honoring experiences that challenge individual and collective courage is critical, but alone not enough to establish a foundation of care that actively supports healing at the individual and community levels. With this in mind, we invite you to incorporate many of the suggested approaches presented in this module into your trauma-informed pedagogy toolkit. 

This article covers:

What is Trauma Informed Pedagogy?

Trauma-Informed Pedagogy is a set of teaching approaches that consider the broader impacts of trauma and the potential paths to resiliency. This approach is anchored on the assumption that individuals are more likely than not to have experienced some form of trauma in their lives (Buffalo Center for Social Research, 2021). Distilled from the wisdom of trauma-informed care practices in the human services field, TIP addresses and thoughtfully integrates policies and procedures in our teaching practices. Thus, as educators, we can actively seek to remove barriers that inhibit student participation, avoid incidences of re-traumatization, and cultivate a supported learning environment.

What is Healing Centered Engagement?

Healing-Centered Engagement is an educational approach that invokes culture, spirituality, civic action, and collective healing (Ginwright, 2018). As such, it allows educators to view trauma not simply as an individual isolated experience, but, instead, highlights how trauma and healing are experienced collectively. This perspective is essential as societies continue to make sense of and cope with the impact of unsettling collective events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, racial violence, and mass shootings. The term healing-centered engagement expands how we think about responses to trauma, and offers a more holistic approach to fostering well-being in learning environments (Ginwright, 2018).

What is Trauma?

Types of Trauma

campus at night background image

Types of Trauma Teaching Tools

To learn more about any of these types of trauma, engage with further research, and understand what you can do as an educator, visit our Types of Trauma teaching tools page!

Link to Teaching Tools Page

Key Takeaways


Related Frameworks

Other entry-points to engaging trauma-informed and responsive practices that continue to humanize teaching and learning environments for all.

campus in spring

Teaching Tools

Responding to Trauma in the Classroom: Toolkit

“While teachers play many roles in students’ lives, psychologist should not be one of them. This is for the benefit of students and teachers alike. For students, school needs to be a place of safety and predictability. Clear boundaries and roles help students establish a sense of safety in relationships. If we dig too deeply into explorations of trauma with students, at best we create a confusing dynamic. At worst, we can impede a student’s healing journey by providing uninformed counsel or treatment.” (Venet, 2019, p.3)
campus in spring

Supportive Resources



TIP: The Role of Assessment in Deep Insights and Learning - Dr. Valentina Iturbe-LaGrave

On Grief Pedagogy, a Kitchen Table Talk from Inclusive Teaching Practices at DU with Professor Erin K. Willer

Helpful Handouts

  • Suggested Citation

    Gentile-Mathew, A., Iturbe-LaGrave, V. (2021) Trauma-Informed Pedagogy and Healing-Centered Engagement, Faculty Teaching Module for Inclusive Teaching Practices. Office of Teaching and Learning, University of Denver.