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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Enhancing ‘Best Practice’ in Trauma-Informed Social Work Education: Insights from a Study Exploring Educator and Student Experiences

Cavener, John and Lonbay, Sarah (2022) Enhancing ‘Best Practice’ in Trauma-Informed Social Work Education: Insights from a Study Exploring Educator and Student Experiences. Social Work Education. pp. 1-22. ISSN 1470-1227

Item Type: Article


This paper reports findings of a study exploring educator and student experiences of teaching and learning trauma-material and application of trauma-informed principles to social work education. Two purposeful participant samples were recruited. Sample one included seven educators teaching trauma-material across two Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) delivering Professional Qualifying Social Work Programmes approved by Social Work England. Sample two included eight student social workers enrolled at the HEIs. Data collection methods included educator semi-structured interviews and a student self-reporting survey. Analysis used a deductive-inductive thematic approach. Highest frequency of comparable statements within data were coded into five overlapping themes indicative of trauma-informed teaching principles identified within literature including: (1) ensuring safety (2) maximising choice (3) encouraging collaboration (4) establishing trustworthiness and (5) prioritising empowerment. A sixth theme (6) promoting resilience was identified. Findings highlight educators’ understanding of vicarious trauma and the relevance for (re)traumatisation of students’ adverse experience and risk of secondary traumatic stress in the classroom. This understanding was found to be embedded in educators’ pedagogical practice(s) and how educators predominantly applied trauma-informed teaching principles implicitly in the classroom was identified. Experiences of receiving teaching in a trauma-informed way were shared by students who shared examples of practices in the classroom where educators ensured safety and established trust by encouraging their collaboration while offering them choice to engage with trauma-material. These findings indicate essential to ‘best practice’ is educators’ need to develop pedagogical practices based on an enhanced awareness of trauma-informed teaching principles to help moderate the risks to students and themselves associated with exposure to trauma-material in the classroom.

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Depositing User: Sarah Lonbay


Item ID: 14870
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ISSN: 1470-1227
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ORCID for Sarah Lonbay: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2022 09:08
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2023 02:38


Author: Sarah Lonbay ORCID iD
Author: John Cavener

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences > Centre for Applied Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Health and Social Care
Social Sciences

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