GUIR Supporting Education

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NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Accredited Teacher Training

Course Title

- Teacher and Student Social and Emotional Well being. Implications for Classroom Safety and Self Care for teachers and students.

List of standard descriptors addressed in the course


Mode of Delivery

Face-to-Face and Self Paced Group Work, Vignettes with discussion, Power Point Presentations, a Knowledge Quiz, Pre and Post evaluation


8 hours

Rational for the Course

The course is based on Social and Emotional Wellbeing as a framework for teaching and learning. There is a need for the inclusivity of trauma-sensitive approaches to classroom safety and teacher/student wellbeing. The course draws on Western and Indigenous methodologies and Practices for safer learning environments and improved student engagement. GUIR skills training is connecting educators to a national journey of respect, learning and change. The learning is linked to community standards on cultural competency using the Cultural Awareness Self-Assessment Toolkit (ACT Council of Social Services Inc. 2009) and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), strategic plan 'Towards Cultural Proficiency: A Phased Approach to Building Cultural Capacity 2013-2015'.

Courage Coaching – Students

The Gamarada Mindfulness/Dadirri Coaching sessions have been developed to offer self-empowerment and life-skills to effectively support students during the adjustment to the student life experience.

Program description

A series of short sessions have been developed to support the students at various stages of their academic journey. The sessions have been designed to be delivered to students based on the empowerment and therapeutic peer-to-peer support model Courage Coaching. This work has been recognised by the NSW Premier and Cabinet, ‘Premiers Excellence Award, Building Indigenous Communities’ and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, 2008 Social Justice Report, Chapter 4, Defining Healing.

The sessions incorporate Indigenous-specific healing and empowerment activities developed to restore social and emotional wellbeing following contextualised trauma relating to colonial impact on indigenous communities. Family violence, incarceration, substance abuse, neglect, anger management, suicide prevention and violence against women are area’s the program has demonstrated effectiveness. Note: the topics listed above will not be the direct focus of the sessions. The sessions draw from traditional Indigenous wisdom tradition with Eastern and Western methods of therapeutic self-empowerment to achieve the intended outcomes.

Trauma Informed care principles embedded

The model is sustained by Trauma Informed Care (TIC) principles and culturally safe practices: Trauma-informed services look at all aspects of their operations through a ‘trauma lens’. Their primary mission is underpinned by knowledge of trauma and the impact it has on the lives of community members accessing supports and services. Every aspect of the service management and program delivery systems are assessed and modified to include an understanding of how trauma affects the life of individuals seeking support and the workers delivering the care. The principles that inform the function of trauma-informed services are set out at the end of this program overview.

Delivery mode

The sessions will be delivered as interactive group tutorials utilising peer-to-peer support and cultural sensitive learning principles. The sessions draw on the successful model of group work principles that has sustained the Gamarada Community Healing and Leadership model.

Program outline available on request

  • Creating a safe place through establishing and adhering to group rules, ensuring referral and follow up support beyond the program reach.
  • Employ trauma-informed care principles
  • Cultural safety through respecting and implementing Aboriginal culture and healing traditions
  • Holistic approach which recognises the body, mind and spirit and the links with the social determinants of health and well-being consistent with Aboriginal definitions of health
  • Development of leadership and mentoring skills
  • Promote unconditional love, acceptance and respect for peers and their experiences and views
  • Acknowledging and nurturing strengths including resilience and self esteem.
  • Self-determination and self-empowerment as integral to growth and development.
  • Help seeking behavours, reaching out towards study goals.

The activities in the program aim to building self-esteem, increase self-awareness and understanding of ones social and emotional well-being. Education is provided on well-being from an Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspective. Emphasis is placed on strengthening knowledge of Indigenous spirituality, identity and kinship in the group sessions, which will be linked to managing negative emotions.

Principle Explanation - Core values of trauma-informed services

Understand trauma and its impact on individuals, families and communal groups: This expertise is critical to avoid misunderstandings between staff and clients that can re-traumatise individuals and cause them to disengage from a program. Two strategies promote understanding of trauma and its impacts: trauma-informed policies and training. Trauma-informed policies formally acknowledge that clients have experienced trauma, commit to understanding trauma and its impacts, and detail trauma-informed care practices. Ongoing trauma-related workforce training and support is also essential. For example, staff members need to learn about how trauma impacts child development and attachment to caregivers. Appropriate support activities might include regular supervision, team meetings and staff self-care opportunities.

Promote safety:

Individuals and families who have experienced trauma require spaces in which they feel physically and emotionally safe. Children need to advise what measures make them feel safe.

Their identified measures need to be consistently, predictably and respectfully provided. Service providers have reported that creating a safe physical space for children includes having child-friendly areas and engaging play materials. Creating a safe emotional environment involves making children feel welcome (e.g. through tours and staff introductions), providing full information about service processes (in their preferred language) and being responsive and respectful of their needs.

Ensure cultural competence:

Culture plays an important role in how victims/survivors of trauma manage and express their traumatic life experience/s and identify the supports and interventions that are most effective. Culturally competent services are respectful of, and specific to, cultural backgrounds. Such services may offer opportunities for clients to engage in cultural rituals, speak in their first language and offer specific foods. Culturally competent staff are aware of their own cultural attitudes and beliefs, as well as those of the individuals, families and communities they support. They are alert to the legitimacy of inter-cultural difference and able to interact effectively with different cultural groups.

Support client’s control:

Client control consists of two important aspects. First, victims/survivors of trauma are supported to regain a sense of control over their daily lives and build competencies that will strengthen their sense of autonomy. Second, service systems are set up to keep individuals (and their caregivers) well informed about all aspects of their treatment, with the individual having ample opportunities to make daily decisions and actively participate in the healing process.

Share power and governance:

Power and decision making is shared across all levels of the organisation, whether related to day-to-decisions or the review and creation of policies and procedures. Practical means of sharing power and governance include recruiting clients to the board and involving them in the design and evaluation of programs and practices.

Integrate care:

Integrating care involves bringing together all the services and supports needed to assist individuals, families and communities to enhance their physical, emotional, social, spiritual and cultural wellbeing.

Support relationship building:

Safe, authentic and positive relationships assist healing and recovery. Trauma-informed services facilitate such relationships; for example, by facilitating peer-to-peer support.

Enable recovery:

Trauma-informed services empower individuals, families and communities to take control of their own healing and recovery. They adopt a strengths-based approach, which focuses on the capabilities that individuals bring to a problem or issue.