Addressing Trauma Shifting School Culture

Trauma is an individualís emotional response to experiencing a distressing event. How each individual respond to trauma varies. One person can have little impact from the same event while it can be devastating for others. Trauma can be caused by a single event, multiple events or recurrence of same event or be a historical event suffered by a group such as colonization, racism or discrimination.  Trauma can lead to feelings of loss of control, helplessness and powerlessness and interferes with meaning making and connections, thus learning. This workshop addresses one way to mitigate trauma, by creating relationships recognizing that both teachers and students have experienced trauma.

Studies have found that the stronger the relationship between students and teachers, the better the students did in schools. There was positive correlation with grades, student engagement, attendance, fewer disruptive behaviors and dropouts. Since positive relationships are protective factors, what can be done to shift school climate?

This workshop will engage participants using the Appreciative Inquiry approach to identify how a cultural shift is possible in Surrey Schools. How can educators, given their teaching loads, shift school culture so that relationship building is integrated throughout the school?  Educators will be asked to be as creative as possible. The plan created by participants will be shared with NEVR members which includes the STA.

Target Audience


To Bring/Important Notes

Be on a computer with the ability to search the internet if needed.


10:50 AM - 12:20 PM

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  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University, NEVR
    Balbir Gurm

    Dr. Balbir Gurm, Fellow Canadian Academy of Nursing (2021), is a caring, dedicated, award-winning nursing leader educator, researcher, and consultant. She has 30+ years of experience in education, leadership, social justice, cultural safety, and relationship violence. Balbir Influences policy through leadership on boards, organizations, advisory panels, and committees to improve communities. Dr. Gurm advocates for equity, access, and funding for oppressed groups. She has received many awards, most recently, 2021, BC Achievement Award, two YWCA Women of Distinction Awards,  and was featured on the cover of Darpan Magazine (2022) for the women's issue.

    As founding member and facilitator for the Network to Eliminate Violence (NEVR) she continues to work with a multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary team (education, justice, health, service providers) to create resources and facilitate workshops to create a violence free society. She advocates for system change to governments and works with media to bring academic knowledge to the community. Along with cross-sectoral multidisciplinary colleagues, she led a project to bring together critical understandings of relationship violence. This free living ebook Making Sense of a Global Pandemic: Relationship Violence & Working Together Towards a Violence Free Society. is available at.

    Dr. Gurm is known for excellence in education and leadership and as someone who uses her privilege to improve society.