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Berry Street Education Model: Trauma-informed Practice

Berry Street Education Model - trauma-informed practice

A whole-school approach centred around positive education, the Berry Street Education Model aims to assist teachers and school staff to learn effective strategies to engage even the most challenging students and help them achieve academic success.

What started as an approach to teaching and learning for the Berry Street School campuses in 2015 is now being requested by mainstream and specialist schools throughout Australia. The Berry Street Education Model (BSEM) was created to better equip teachers to help students who have experienced trauma from violence, abuse and/or neglect.

Berry Street Education Model alumni report that students’ engagement and learning are all significantly improved once Berry Street Education Model strategies are applied in their classrooms. Their experience is backed up by an independent evaluation carried out by the University of Melbourne (2016). The Berry Street Education Model fuses together evidence-based strategies around positive education, trauma-informed practice and wellbeing. This unique combination educates school communities and their leaders to reinforce and sustain cognitive and behavioural change, thereby re-engaging young people in learning and progressing their academic achievement and subsequently their life opportunities.

“For the majority of the students it impacted on them. Respect grew, we grew up, we could see when people are feeling down – don’t ignore it, ask them, try to be there, help if they’re angry. It works for students and teachers. Respect grew more, teacher to student, student to student. Before that everyone had their own group in the classroom,” says a Year 11 student who has taken part in the program.

Berry Street works with all school sectors, including special, high flying and independent. Schools have adopted the model because:

  • It’s beneficial for all students, not just the ones with chronic stress and trauma.
  • It is evidenced-based and independently evaluated.
  • It consists of practical strategies that provide a consistent approach for a whole school.
  • It is taught to teachers and all school staff so that they can teach skills to students.
  • It is practiced in the classroom and can enhance or validate existing classroom management and pedagogical practice.
  • It is contextualised for your context (it’s not an add on and can be woven into your current curriculum).
  • It provides opportunities for participants to pilot learned strategies in their schools.

The Berry Street Education Model’s framework is benefitting students of all ages, even younger students who have become disengaged. As one Year 6 student comments, “I can tell it helps a lot of people in my class – I see people are a lot calmer and they focus a lot more.”

Another student from Year 7 adds that the model has been beneficial during some of the most stressful times of the school year. “With exams, a lot of us get stressed because of the time limit… the teachers know how you feel. In Semester 1, most of us all got pretty low (marks on a test). We’d only just started learning about them (Berry Street Education Model techniques)… but then you can see the big jump from where we’ve gone from the end of first semester to the end of second semester.”

The five domains of the Berry Street Education Model correspond with developmental pathways each student must master in order to be ‘ready to learn’. Focusing first on building their capacity to manage the learning ready skills and then nurturing student willingness to engage:

  • Body: Building students’ capacity by increasing physical regulation of the stress response, de-escalation and focus.
  • Relationship: Nurturing on-task learning through relational classroom management strategies.
  • Stamina: Creating a culture of academic persistence by nurturing resilience, emotional intelligence and a growth mindset.
  • Engagement: Motivating students with strategies that increase their willingness to learn.
  • Character: Harnessing a values and character strengths approach to instil students’ self-knowledge for future pathways.

The Berry Street Education Model is offered as a suite of structured professional development, consultation and mentoring sessions for school leaders, teachers and support staff. It is delivered on site at the school to all school personnel. Resources and tools to facilitate implementation of the model are provided, and additional mentoring and consultation to embed the interventions is available. Berry Street Education Model also offers consultation and coaching days to monitor progress and implementation after the training has been delivered.

Berry Street Education Model can be accessed by all education personnel. School courses are available, where Berry Street staff come to the school and train all staff. Public courses are also available Australia-wide; and single day in-depth masterclasses are offered as an extension of concepts related to the model.

Upcoming 2020 courses

Melbourne: 16-17 March & 7-8 May 2020
Darwin: 8-9 April & 24-25 June 2020
Sydney: 6-7 April & 24-25 June 2020
Brisbane: 15-16 April & 24-25 June 2020

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Berry Street Education Model
Ph: 03 9429 9266