Is There a Need for Healing in the Classroom? Exploring Trauma-Informed Education for Aboriginal Mature Students


  • Elaine Mordoch Aboriginal Focus Programs, University of Manitoba
  • Rainey Gaywish Aboriginal Focus Programs, University of Manitoba



mature students, Aboriginal students, intergenerational trauma, residential school, care


In this paper, we describe a perplexing pattern of behaviours in mature Aboriginal students in university studies who appear capable of being successful to complete course work, but fail due to incompletion of academic work.  Despite numerous strategies to provide students with opportunities for success, these students' behaviours remain perplexing.  Considering the prevalence of trauma (accident, violence, suicide) in the Aboriginal population and the intergenerational trauma of the residential school experience, we examine trauma-informed care principles and their adaption to educational systems as a potential strategy to mitigate this problem.  A conceptual framework based on an Indigenous knowledge perspective of Four Lodges guides the discussion of this issue.

Keywords: mature students; Aboriginal students; intergenerational trauma; residential school; care