Loughborough University
Co creating strategies for enacting trauma aware pedagogies with pre service physical education teachers.pdf (1.72 MB)
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Co-creating strategies for enacting trauma-aware pedagogies with pre-service physical education teachers

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-28, 15:34 authored by Thomas Quarmby, Rachel SandfordRachel Sandford, Oliver HooperOliver Hooper, Shirley Gray

Background: In Physical Education (PE), trauma may manifest in a range of different actions/behaviours (e.g. small fouls escalating into physical conflict, students refusing to be part of a team, and struggling to adhere to the rules of the game). Without knowledge of the effects of trauma, teachers often defer to punitive responses, which exacerbate rather than mediate the needs of trauma-affected youth. It is therefore critical that prospective physical educators can enact trauma-aware practices to better support their learning and development. 

Purpose: The aim of this novel paper was to reflect on the principles underpinning trauma-aware pedagogies and, from this, co-create tangible strategies that could be employed by future PE teachers to better support all students, but especially those who have experienced trauma. 

Methods: We worked with three distinct groups of pre-service PE teachers (n = 22) from a range of different institutions, delivering a total of 12 hours of online workshops (2 × 2-hour sessions per group). The workshops were designed to support pre-service PE teachers in becoming trauma-aware and were grounded in the principles of trauma-aware pedagogies, namely: (1) ensuring safety and wellbeing, (2) establishing routines and structures, (3) developing and sustaining positive relationships that foster a sense of belonging, (4) facilitating and responding to youth voice and, (5) promoting strengths and self-belief. Through a range of academic content, individual activities and group tasks, participants were invited to consider, in conversation with us (as the workshop leaders) and each other, how these principles could be enacted in practice during various ‘PE moments’ (e.g. transitions into PE, getting changed, responding to incidents). Audio recordings of the workshops were transcribed, and along with copies of the online ‘chats’, were thematically analysed. 

Findings: The workshops led to the co-creation of a host of tangible strategies–things that could be done to enact trauma-aware pedagogies in PE. While the strategies are noted here in relation to specific principles, we are not suggesting that these are in any way rigid categorisations. Rather, strategies are associated with principles reflecting how these were framed by pre-service teachers during the workshops. Each of the individual strategies is subsequently explored in relation to the relevant principle. For instance, strategies associated with the principle of ‘establishing routines and structures’ included: (1) being predictable, (2) ensuring consistent transitions within and between PE lessons, and (3) forewarning of changes. 

Conclusions: This novel paper provides a range of strategies that could be used by both future and current teachers to enact trauma-aware pedagogies in PE. We argue that these strategies are reflective of ‘good pedagogy’ more broadly–and would benefit all students–but especially those who have been impacted by trauma. However, there remains a need to consider the context of the school, the students, and broader cultures when implementing these within practice.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy


Taylor & Francis


  • VoR (Version of Record)

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© The Authors

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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Taylor & Francis under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC-ND). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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Dr Rachel Sandford. Deposit date: 26 June 2023