This is Your Brain on Trauma: S1E3 with Kyle Quadros

Kyle Quadros, Co-founder and Chairman of TILO (Trauma-Informed Learning Organization), shakes up the status quo stance on “dealing” with our learners and challenges us to dig deeper.

Our kids aren’t broken. our parents aren’t broken. They’re products of an environment and context that has led them to be vulnerable and stripped of behaving the way we deem normal… What does that mean anyway? A lot of people are saying ‘I can’t wait to get back to normal’. We got a question, ‘was what we were doing before COVID healthy?’ It might have been normal, but if it wasn’t healthy and in line with what we understand with the science of Developmental Theory then we should want to just create a new normal and that’s the opportunity we have now, is that we can create a new normal.

Kyle argues that now is the time to look at everything we do as educators and question what our goal truly is. Are we working to raise up a generation of well-disciplined learners or are we working to build up our learners to think critically, develop an understanding of themselves, and fight for what is needed to achieve success.

When comparing districts in the midst of the pandemic, Kyle points out how students in poor districts and students in private schools have polarizing experiences. While one class is assigned 30 minutes of lecture with the teacher and assigned packet work and e-learning loggins, the other receives 4-6 hours of teacher instruction and group collaboration assignments. Which do you want for your child?

Just as the NFL changed protocols for protecting their players from concussions, shouldn’t we change our systems to protect our children, help them heal, and set them up for successful academic careers? If you answered ‘yes’ then welcome, Co-conspirator. It’s time to move forward with a new perspective on helping our children overcome trauma.

What makes this time so unique and different… is that at its very core, for the kids that are experiencing a lot of trauma or toxic stress, the antidote for that comes in the form of therapeutic relationships and love.

The pandemic, whether through isolation and uncertainty or through deleting outlets and access to safe havens, is causing stress and damaging a sense of security for our children. Though we may not be able to be with our students now, there are things we can do. Kyle lists out some practical steps for us:

  1. Recognize that how you’re feeling is healthy and normal, during abnormal times.
  2. Take care of yourself first – through therapy and counseling, yoga or meditation, and connecting to something bigger than yourself.
  3. Explore the contributors to your sadness so that you may heal and in doing so, help our children heal.

We all need to dig a little deeper into our feelings and emotions and gain understanding and properly heal, before we can support the next generation and overcome this.

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