Here is the full transcript of Kristen Nguyen’s talk titled “3 Steps To Help Kids Process Traumatic Events” at TED conference.
In her talk “3 Steps To Help Kids Process Traumatic Events,” educator Kristen Nguyen discusses the challenges educators faced during major crises like the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd. Reflecting on her experience and research, Nguyen highlights the importance of addressing traumatic events with students, emphasizing that silence is not an option.
She outlines three key strategies educators can use: restoring safety, engaging in heart work, and empowering action. Restoring safety involves creating a secure and calming environment for students, often through physical and psychological reassurances. Heart work requires addressing and processing emotions, with educators modeling vulnerability and creating spaces for students to express their feelings.
The third step, empowering action, involves guiding students to take positive actions, fostering resilience and hope. Nguyen concludes by stressing the importance of these strategies in helping children navigate and heal from traumatic experiences.
Listen to the audio version here:
Reflecting on a Unique School Year
Think back. Where were you in May of 2020? Like many other educators, I was preparing to close out the most unique school year in my time as a teacher, after spending the past couple of months trying to figure out how to teach online from my kitchen table while also navigating the uncertainty and trauma of a global health pandemic.
And then on May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered in police custody in Minneapolis. In the wake of this tragedy and the days of civil unrest that followed, my colleagues and I realized we couldn’t just keep showing up to our virtual classes to teach math and science and reading and writing as if everything was fine.
And so we gathered on Zoom one morning to face an urgent question: What do we say to the kids? Since that day, I’ve started reflecting on more moments like this. Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, I remember my parents telling me about two specific dates where they remember exactly where they were and exactly what they were doing.