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The Educator’s Core Curriculum on Trauma

The Educator's Core Curriculum on Trauma (ECCT) provides foundational training for pre-service teachers and ongoing professional development with inservice teachers. We developed the ECCT to strengthen the capacity of educators to meet the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral needs of students coping with trauma. Professional development revolves around problem-based learning; by having educators work through a variety of school and classroom scenarios based on actual events they are better able to generalize knowledge learned in the workshops to the experiences they will have in schools.

TREP Project

The five primary aims of the ECCT:

  1. Increase understanding of how and why traumatic experiences undermine children's neurohormonal development in ways that affect all aspects of classroom functioning.

  2. Enhance educators’ understanding of the nature of traumatic experiences from the student’s perspective.

  3. Facilitate the development of educators’ ability to depersonalize their perspective on externalized and internalized challenging behaviors, and systematically search for underlying causes of challenging behaviors.

  4. Facilitate school-wide change regarding the movement from reactive, punitive, and exclusionary discipline to proactive, positive, and instructional discipline.

  5. Ensure that educators can proactively manage and reduce secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization, and burnout.

Conceptual framework for educator’s learning needs:

  1. Core trauma concepts that provide the empirical basis for understanding challenging classroom behaviors

  2. Intervention objectives that specify what the educator intends to achieve through intervening

  3. Practice elements that specify the observable actions the educator undertakes either with or on behalf of students to achieve specific intervention objectives

  4. Classroom management skills that addresses how educators can connect and deploy their knowledge of points 1 through 3 across an academic year to meet each unique set of student, classroom, and school factors.

TREP Project

Additionally, we help schools become collaborative professional learning communities that focus on meeting the needs of students coping with trauma. Research shows that too often teachers work in isolated classrooms, struggling with challenging students and lacking productive interaction with colleagues, through whom they might gain new insights and understandings about their practice. The professional isolation that educators experience is also directly linked to the high likelihood of compassion fatigue and burnout experienced by educators working in high-need schools. Professional learning communities offer an infrastructure to address these issues.  


Layne, C. M., Ippen, C. G., Strand, V., Stuber, M., Abramovitz, R., Reyes, G., et al. (2011). The Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma: A tool for training a trauma-informed workforce. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 3(3), 243.

Layne, C. M., Strand, V., Popescu, M., Kaplow, J. B., Abramovitz, R., Stuber, M., et al. (2014). Using the core curriculum on childhood trauma to strengthen clinical knowledge in evidence-based practitioners. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 43(2), 286-300.

Dochy, F., Segers, M., Van den Bossche, P., & Gijbels, D. (2003). Effects of problem-based learning: A meta-analysis. Learning and Instruction, 13(5), 533-568.

TREP Project
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