ERRR #008. Tom Brunzell, Trauma Informed Positive Education and U.S/Aus Education

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This month our guest is Tom Brunzell. Tom began his career in education as a Teach for America (TFA) corps member at NYC P.S. #28 in the Bronx. Tom co-founded KIPP Infinity Charter School as Dean of Students and literacy teacher. He worked with students and their families; supervised teachers through classroom observation and curriculum feedback; supervised KIPP’s guidance staff of social workers and counselors–eventually serving as chair for all KIPP NYC’s social worker development group. Additionally, he was team leader in the University of Pennsylvania/KIPP/Riverdale Country School three-year partnership to develop character education and the Character Report Card with Dr Martin Seligman and Dr Angela Duckworth.

He now serves as Senior Advisor, Teaching and Learning, for Berry Street Childhood Institute, working with school leaders, teachers, and their regions in the areas of school culture and curriculum development.

He received his bachelor degree (B.A.) from Yale University, then a teaching masters degree (M.S.T.) from Pace University and a school leadership masters degree (Ed.M.) from the Bank Street School of Education. Tom presents internationally on topics of transforming school cultures, high expectations for differentiated instruction, trauma-informed practice, wellbeing and the application of positive psychology, and effective school leadership. He is also a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Centre for Positive Psychology and Youth Research Centre, studying trauma-informed pedagogy, positive psychology, and their impacts on workplace meaning.

This month our article is: Trauma-Informed Positive Education: Using Positive Psychology to Strengthen Vulnerable Students . This paper explores the role of a positive education paradigm in mainstream and specialist classrooms for students who have experienced complex trauma resulting from abuse, neglect, violence, or being witness to violence. Applying a strengths-based trauma-informed positive education (TIPE) approach, Tom and colleagues propose three domains of learning needed for trauma- affected students: repairing regulatory abilities, repairing disrupted attachment, and increasing psychological resources. Readers will be fascinated to hear how the TIPE model fundamentally expands the possibilities of trauma- informed teaching and learning by maintaining rigorous attention toward the healing of developmental deficits, while simultaneously providing pathways toward psychological growth.

Links mentioned during the interview