Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

First Advisor

Elizabeth Currin


Students who experience trauma bring this trauma to school with them in the form of exaggerated behaviors—acting out or withdrawing, being violent or extremely passive, or exhibiting rudeness or academic difficulty. Because students react to trauma in many ways, there is no one way for teachers to respond. The classroom community is vulnerable to the sheer unpredictability of behaviors. Grounded in ecological systems theory, whole-child theory, and compassionate teaching theory, this study explored my efforts to mitigate the results of trauma and increase the sense of community and well-being in my sixth-grade classroom. During the last few weeks of the 2021–2022 school year, I implemented interventions based on principles of mindfulness, restorative practices, and positivity. Students experienced lessons in regulating breathing, learned to reflect on behavior, and participated in community circles three times a week, as I collected data through journaling and observation. Despite students’ struggles to adapt to these new techniques and setbacks along the way, the overall classroom community improved.


© 2023, Jennifer Weller Wells