Meegan Brown

How do teachers in rural and remote primary schools experience their work with children living with the effects of complex childhood trauma?

Children from Australian rural and remote areas are vulnerable to complex childhood trauma (CCT) as their communities face higher rates of disadvantage and exposure to traumatic circumstances such as natural disasters, and family and community violence. This is compounded by difficulties associated with the tyranny of distance in accessing effective support. In such contexts, the role of schools and teachers in addressing trauma’s debilitating effects is both vital and amplified. Yet in the field of education, trauma-informed practice is in its infancy, and research reveals that teachers feel ill-equipped to deal with its challenges. This is exacerbated by a context in which many teachers working in rural and remote areas are early career teachers, and little is known about their experiences and how to best support them. This Doctor of Philosophy study using qualitative grounded theory methodology will investigate how teachers in Queensland’s rural and remote primary schools experience their work with children living with the effects CCT. The research will contribute important insights into the scope and nature of teachers work with children experiencing CCT and recommend how cognate systems can prepare and support teachers in rural and remote areas in their important role as key professionals in the lives of children who have experienced CCT.

Principal Supervisor: Professor Kerryann Walsh

Associate Supervisor: Dr Judith Howard