Schools and educational systems have as their express purpose to provide support for students throughout their learning, but they also have the power to harm. It goes without saying that no student should be hurt in the pursuit of their education. A growing body of research has begun to examine how trauma and retraumatization affect learning in face-to-face classes in tertiary education. Fewer studies have explored trauma and its effects in an online platform. The present study utilized a constructivist grounded theory approach to examine how college instructors think about and design trauma-informed practices in both their online and face-to-face classes. An analysis of the data gathered through interviews with 13 college instructors revealed a great deal of concern about the emotional welfare of their students. Using dimensional analysis, the core dimension that emerged from the data was Creating a Learning Environment of Care. The primary dimensions of Describing the Lived Experience of an Instructor, Being Present, Building Positive Student-Instructor Relationships, and Making Thoughtful Instructional Choices all supported the core dimension. A model for the process of Creating a Learning Environment of Care for is provided, along with a model for Creating a Learning Environment of Care Online. Theoretical propositions and practical applications are provided based on the data from the interviews. This study provides a foundation for future research on trauma-informed teaching and learning in tertiary educational settings.
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Thesis advisor: O'Neill, Kevin
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