STORIES From the field

UCSC Psychology Professor, Regina Langhout

"Students have told me that they appreciate a moment of quiet and self-care."

Professor Regina Langhout

UCSC Psychology

The various crises of recent months have destabilized the daily lives of so many of our students, which can make it hard to engage and focus in class. Psychology Professor Regina Langhout has incorporated a 4 - 6 minute exercise to the beginning of all her classes so that students can begin their learning by engaging their parasympathetic nervous systems. She explains, “The activities give us a chance to focus and become present in this moment. It helps us to also create a ritual while simultaneously soothing our nervous systems.” By creating a recurring routine that students can come to expect every class, Professor Langhout hopes that students can experience a sense of regularity and prepare for learning, while caring for themselves. She notes, “Students have told me that they appreciate a moment of quiet and self-care. Also, they sometimes choose the activity, so it's given them a chance to have some say over how we start class. It has also exposed them (and me) to several tools which we can use at other times.”

Given that the effects of the past year and its traumas will likely continue to shape teaching and learning in the future, these practical strategies are helpful for teaching remotely and when we return to campus.

For more on these teaching strategies, Professor Langhout recommends looking into research by Meadow Jones and listening to the webinar on Trauma Informed Pedagogy by Mays Imad.

CITL has also found this short guide to trauma-informed pedagogy in Higher Education very useful.