Trauma-Responsive Education

Professional learning for professionals working with children and adolescents, including teachers, early childhood educators, and humanitarian workers
Register now

Wednesday 24 April 2024, 9.30am – 4pm, Melbourne
Wednesday 1 May 2024, 4 – 5.30pm, online
Wednesday 8 May 2024, 4 – 5.30pm, online

AITSL developments outcomes

About this Short course

Trauma is the emotional, psychological, and physiological damage resulting from adverse events that overwhelm our ordinary coping abilities. Trauma can be caused by a single event(e.g. a car wreck, natural disaster), a series of events (e.g. sexual abuse), or collective historical wounding (e.g. forced removal of Indigenous children).

The impact of trauma can be multifaceted. Dr Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s leading trauma experts, describes trauma as a profound shock with lasting effects on one’s psychic, brain, and body. Trauma-impacted children and young people experience intrusive negative thoughts, anxiety, irritability, and feelings of numbness. In educational settings, these experiences impact the behaviour, learning and wellbeing of children and young people. Furthermore, the manifestation of trauma impacts teacher wellbeing and performance. 


How can professional training in trauma-responsive education help? 

Training provides teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively respond to the manifestation of trauma in education. Being trauma aware and having a toolkit of practical strategies strengthens teachers confidence and capacity to be trauma-responsive, thereby supporting child and teacher experiences and outcomes in educational settings. 

Deakin’s Trauma-Responsive Education short course examines key content relating to trauma in education, leading participants through a learning journey that begins with becoming trauma aware through to being trauma responsive in pedagogy and practice. Engagement with this short course will provide participants with insights and strategies that will enable them to effectively respond to the learning and wellbeing needs of trauma-impacted children and create safe and trusting learning environments for all.

Through self paced learning and both face to face and online delivery modes, key learning covered in this short course includes:

  • Trauma awareness (understanding the nature of trauma, such as types and causes)
  • The impact of trauma (on children’s learning, behaviour, relationships and wellbeing) 
  • Teacher wellbeing (insights and practical strategies to address stress and burnout)
  • Trauma-Responsive Education (principles and practices)

Cost and registration: 

  • $500 per person, discount available for Deakin University students & groups of 2 or more receive a discount.
  • Register here

Australia Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) Standards:

  • Standard 1: Know students and how they learn
  • Standard 4: Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments

CPL Pathway: 

Successful completion of the short course program with an additional assessment task (Application fee $250) for current Deakin students is a credit elective pathway into the below: 



Dr Nicole Downes

Dr Nicole Downes

Senior Lecturer

Dr Nicole Downes had 10 years of practical teaching experience as an early childhood educator and pre-school teacher before joining the early childhood team at Deakin University in 2012. Nicole teaches and researches in the areas of child safety and wellbeing, teacher wellbeing, trauma, and initial teacher education. Nicole is currently involved in several research projects focusing on the impact’s of trauma-responsive education, innovating teacher education and the ongoing development of teacher identity and professional practice. She actively advocates for children’s rights, both in the university and the wider community. Nicole practices and promotes Deakin’s commitment to innovation, excellence and integrity in her role as course director, lecturer, researcher and in the services of her role. 

Nicole leads the Graduate Certificate in Trauma-Responsive Education

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