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Graduate Programs in Education offering new online course on trauma-informed classrooms

December 17, 2019

A new online course offered by Earlham College’s Graduate Programs in Education will provide new resources and strategies for K-12 teachers working with students who have experienced traumatic events in their life. The registration deadline is January 21, 2020.

“Trauma Informed Classrooms and Social Emotional Learning: Respect for Persons in our Current Climate” will be offered during spring semester 2020. It is designed for Earlham alumni or educators familiar with Quaker values and approaches to learning. Enrollment, however, is open to any practicing teacher in the United States.

Becky Dimick Eastman“The definition of trauma is changing in classrooms across the nation,” says Becky Dimick Eastman (left), director of Earlham’s Graduate Programs in Education. “Educators who participate in this new coursework will develop strategies based on Quaker principles for working with students reeling from violence, challenges at home, discrimination, and other impediments to learning.”

A recent study by the National Survey on Children’s Health underscores the need for such a course. The study found that nearly 47 percent of all children in the United States have experienced at least one adverse childhood experience, such as abuse or neglect, the death of a parent, or witnessing community violence in school or in the neighborhood. Nearly 22 percent of all children have experienced two adverse childhood experiences, the study says.

“We want to meet the needs of current teachers in a supportive way, where they live, and at the right time, as trauma-informed care has become a national conversation,” Dimick Eastman says. “This program has the potential to connect Earlham alumni and others interested in sustaining our commitment to lifelong learning by engaging in discussions on cutting-edge topics that can make a difference in the lives of students.”

Earlham is the only institution of higher education offering such a course that is based on Quaker principles and practices related to respect for persons, community, peace and justice, integrity, and simplicity. The three-credit course is taught by educators who have experience teaching adults.

In addition to this online coursework, Earlham's Graduate Programs in Education offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and a Master of Education (M.Ed.). The M.A.T. program prepares students to become licensed classroom teachers, while the M.Ed. program is for students interested in a variety of careers in education beyond the classroom, including outdoor leadership, educational technology, or coaching. Both programs can be completed in 11 months.

A distinctive 3+1 Education program is also available for undergraduates seeking to earn the Bachelor of Arts and the M.A.T. in nine semesters, to be completed in four years.

Dylan Gentilcore M.A.T. ’17, a high school English and theatre teacher working in Carmel, Indiana, believes the new coursework will be a valuable resource for educators.

“Most educators can relate to the challenge of trying to get each of their students to complete the same work on the same deadline,” Gentilcore says. “For students grappling with mental health issues or other situations they can’t escape from, putting them in a normal timeframe might not be fair to them. It can be a very powerless situation for teachers, too. Working on how to address that and give teachers strategies for working with these students can be very useful.”

Gentilcore said Earlham’s strength is in producing educators who listen and develop rapport with their students.

“Earlham focuses on being empathetic toward students and understanding of the different backgrounds and experiences they have,” Gentilcore says. “The coursework I completed as part of the M.A.T. program fundamentally addresses those issues.

“We have a tendency as adults to just react and dismiss what children are experiencing as normal,” he says. “Earlham really helped me hone in on who the student is, and become a person they can trust.”

— EC —

Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a College That Changes Lives. We aspire to provide the highest quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences. We expect our students to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success.

Princeton Review ranks Earlham in the Top 15 nationally for Best Classroom Experience, and U.S. News & World Report recognizes the College as one of the nation’s “Most Innovative Schools,” and ranks EC 7th for the percentage of international students on campus, 25th for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” and 34th for “Best Value.”

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and


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