Trauma-Informed Online and Hybrid Teaching

When teaching online or in a hybrid mode during the COVID-19 pandemic, your may want to consider trauma-informed approaches.

On This Page:

What is trauma-informed pedagogy and why should I consider this in my online teaching practice?

Our students come to us as whole people with incredible experiences even under the most “normal” of circumstances. We must recognize that trauma (now and pre-pandemic) is also part of their experiences. Understanding and becoming aware of our own relationship to trauma and considering trauma-aware or trauma-informed pedagogy can allow us to design more supportive learning environments (online, hybrid, or face-to-face) that our students need now more than ever. Mays Imad, a neuroscientist who studies stress and student learning, states that “a trauma-informed pedagogy enables us to recognize that amid a pandemic, our students may have a difficult time completing basic tasks they normally would, including keeping track of the slightest changes in our classes, making decisions about their learning, being motivated to study or to show up, prioritizing assignments, engaging with classmates or the subject, managing their time, or simply not quitting.” Consider learning more about trauma-informed teaching and adding student support resources provided on this page to your syllabus and class conversations.

How can I learn more about trauma-informed (or trauma-aware) pedagogy?

There are many resources to consider when exploring how to integrate trauma-informed pedagogy into your teaching practice, but we recommend starting with the overview found in A Pandemic Pedagogy: Trauma-Informed Teaching Meets Healing-Centered Engagement, a CFI Teaching Toolbox written by Cara Meixner, professor of Graduate Psychology. This resource synthesizes the current literature, provides valuable and practical resources, and offers actionable suggestions for your online, hybrid, and/or face-to-face teaching practices.

If you are interested in discussing any of these resources or consulting with someone to integrate trauma-informed pedagogy, please email the CFI at or fill out a CFI consultation request.

What resources are available for students?

Counseling Center

The JMU Counseling Center provides a variety of clinical, educational, consultation, and referral services.

Victim Advocacy Services

Formerly Survivor Advocates in The Well, the Victim Advocacy Services team acts as a safe, confidential, welcoming, and inclusive resource for JMU students impacted by sexual violence, relationship abuse, stalking, or other crimes of interpersonal violence, whether recently or in the past.

Title IX

The Title IX Office receives, responds to, and addresses all reports of sexual misconduct involving members of the university community.

Dean of Students

The Dean of Students office offers a program called Madison Cares, which is a centralized program for departments, students, parents, and community members to refer or consult about students of concern. This program operates as an extended arm to students experiencing varying levels of social, emotional, academic, or mental-health distress.

Anyone can submit a Care Referral online about a student they are concerned about. They will respond and address any concerns by providing care outreach, university resources, and direct support.

Depending upon the level of risk, the Dean of Students office can elevate the situation to the Behavioral Assessment Team, who is responsible for assessing student behavior, and make recommendations to the administration on the most appropriate intervention to respond to students whose behavior may present a threat to themselves or the safety of the university community.