Adverse Childhood Experiences and Their Effects in the Classroom: Are Our Educators Prepared

Gallagher-Butler, Coleen
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Centenary University
There are many challenges in the world of education. One challenge to teaching and learning are Adverse Childhood Experiences. The trauma resulting from these experiences negatively affects the developing brain of students. This study examined teacher preparation for working with this vulnerable population of students. It also examined whether there was a relationship between teachers’ sense of efficacy and several factors including: teaching assignment, grade level assignment, years in the profession, the amount of time spent with each group of students each day, and the number of students an educator works with each day. The survey instrument used was the Teachers Sense of Efficacy Scales. The Teachers Sense of Efficacy Scale was utilized to measure educators’ perception of effectiveness when worked with students who had experienced trauma. The survey instrument quantitatively measured their sense of effectiveness in three areas: student engagement, instructional strategies, and classroom management. The survey instrument was completed by 112 respondents, all of whom were Pre- K– Grade 12 educators in a suburban New Jersey school district. The study was quantitative and employed a correlational research design. Data collected was analyzed using a Pearson Correlation test through SPSS 26.0 to determine potential relationships between a sense of efficacy and the aforementioned variables. Statistical significance was determined in all factors with varying degrees. This study adds to the body of knowledge by providing districts and schools with information as to what factors affect educators’ sense of efficacy and how they feel about the preparation they have received in order to meet the challenge of educating students who have been affected by Adverse Childhood Experiences.
Adverse Childhood Experiences, developmental trauma, childhood trauma, teacher preparedness, trauma-informed instruction, ACEs, District Factor Group, DFG