Trauma-Informed Teaching & Learning Framework

Access a printable version of the framework on Google Docs.

Guided by USF's core values of cura personalis, people for others, and commitment to diversity, this faculty resource identifies principles in integrating trauma-informed practices into your course delivery amid current instructional challenges.

Principles Best Practices
Safety of Wellbeing
  • Establish community agreements and a netiquette policy
  • Provide continuous feedback using low-stakes assessments
  • Be aware of the ways that our actions and policies as faculty could, intentionally or unintentionally, inflict harm or trauma on students through our language, unexamined assumptions, grading, etc.
Know Your Students
  • Be familiar with your students’ demographics and needs
  • Be aware of students’ traumas and current life situations
  • Offer space for students to process and share experiences with peers and/or you as instructors
Clear Expectations & Boundaries
  • Provide clear student expectations with grading, submitting assignments, and participation in class
  • Offer students choices of topics when requiring reflection assignments or projects on traumatic subjects
  • Respect the limits of your expertise — assign work within the scope of your competency
  • Provide multiple ways to access course content — including with technology-enhanced options
  • Create opportunities for students to voice their ideas and opinions on different platforms
  • Integrate and invite sharing of personal experiences related to course content
  • Be present in class and actively engage with students
  • Provide frequent opportunities for group work for assignments or projects; be mindful of how much time is spent outside of class
  • Create an open space for students to collaborate on activities to activate problem solving skills
Empowering Students
  • Encourage students to take risks, learn from their mistakes, and freedom to leverage personal experiences
  • Offer students choices in topics of inquiry and debate
  • Challenge students to consider their identities as community changemakers and promote social justice
Sociocultural Diversity
  • Adapt your curricula to address current issues of diversity and oppression, acknowledging the agency of groups actively challenging oppression
  • Acknowledge assets that students bring to their learning
  • Foster inclusive excellence — finding common ground among diverse communities — and celebrate diversity
  • Acknowledge yours and your students’ growth and change
  • Solicit feedback from students and use it to improve current course delivery in response to learning needs
  • Be proactive in recognizing when students are struggling

Adapted from San Francisco State University, Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL); Janice Carello, University of Buffalo School of Social Work