Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures
Helping Students Cope with Trauma and Loss: Online Training for School Personnel with Helene Jackson, Ph.D.
Professor Jackson introduces the course.
Worldwide, school-age children are increasingly exposed to traumatic events, including war, natural and man-made disasters, accidents, and family and community violence. Whether because of direct or indirect involvement, these events can be severely damaging to children and adolescents (herein referred to as children). As teachers, school counselors (including social workers and other mental-health professionals who work in schools ), and administrators, you intuitively respond to the needs of your students in the wake of traumatic events. And you continue to cope with your own reactions and work responsibilities, often without guidance. You should be proud of what you accomplish under difficult circumstances.

Worldwide, people are victims of natural and man-made disasters.
Counterclockwise from top: Copyright © 2003. Q. Sakamaki. All rights reserved; FEMA; Copyright © James Burger. All rights reserved; © European Communities, 1995–2002.

Because you see your students every weekday, you are in a unique position to appraise their conduct over time—to observe peer relationships, recognize problems in concentration and changes in academic performance, and to compare student behavior to group norms.1 Yet, for most of you, your formal education has not included education and training in childhood trauma and loss. Without such knowledge, it is difficult to respond effectively to students who show the effects of traumatic stress and unresolved grief.

This training consists of four courses. In each course you will be presented with case studies and role-plays, you and will hear experts in the field discuss issues of trauma and loss. Through the use of interactive video, you will become acquainted with the fundamental skills of recognizing and responding to students who are suffering the effects of various types of trauma and loss. As teachers, counselors, and administrators, you will be asked to decide how you would intervene in particular crisis situations. In order to reinforce your new knowledge and your ability to move to the next course, you will be given a short quiz at the end of each course. If you are taking the courses for credit from the Department of Education (DOE), you will need to complete a number of individual and interactive assignments. Please refer to the DOE spring-and-summer 2004 catalog for details.

Many parts of the courses involve audio and video; others will require that you do some reading. In some segments, you will need to click on the screen to make choices or enter information. Please reference the help area located on the bottom right of the screen for any questions and the necessary technical requirements to run these simulations.

Before you begin, please read the technical requirements.
This curriculum is delivered as a nine-week, interactive online course with iEARN. To view the course dates and outline visit
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This course was edited by Sharon Kay. The project was developed by the Columbia University School of Social Work with support from the Bank Street College of Education.

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