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Phoebe

Phoebe Dixon

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: Northern Territory Social Welfare > Children Care And Protection
To investigate how trauma-informed practices can support social, emotional and academic development - New Zealand, USA, Canada
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About Phoebe

Phoebe Dixon is an educator based in Central Australia, with a Master of Education through Charles Darwin University and a Master of Learning Intervention through Melbourne University. She has worked as a class teacher and school leader, including seven years as a teacher and Assistant Principal of Yuendumu School, and is currently a manager in the NT Department of Education’s Student Wellbeing and Inclusion team. At the end of 2017 Phoebe completed her Churchill fellowship, travelling to New Zealand, Canada and the United States of America to explore the implementation of trauma-sensitive practices in schools and school systems. Over the course of her fellowship Phoebe visited over 18 schools at various stages of creating trauma-sensitive environments, and met with over 50 teachers, school leaders, psychologists and academics to discuss trauma-informed practices and the key considerations involved in transforming schools into trauma-sensitive environments.

Phoebe has a particular interest in working in cross-cultural settings, and a key theme of her fellowship was how schools and school systems can appropriately and sensitively support the social, emotional and academic development of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Phoebe is currently continuing work this area by collaborating with school leaders and teachers in Central Australia to create safe and engaging learning environments not just for students, but also for families and wider community members as well. 

Major Fellowship Findings 

  • Childhood trauma is alarmingly prevalent and can profoundly affect a child or young person’s social, emotional and academic development.
  • Schools provide a powerful environment to mitigate some of trauma’s detrimental effects. The protective power of schools is maximised when trauma-informed practices are implemented consistently across a whole school.
  • Trauma-sensitive schools prioritise the creation of safe, secure and supportive learning environments for all students and staff.
  • Although the practices implemented in trauma-sensitive schools directly support trauma-affected students, trauma-sensitive practices benefit the social, emotional and academic development of all students.
  • Trauma-sensitivity is responsive to the needs of each school so looks different in each setting, however there are some key elements common to trauma-sensitive schools: Ongoing professional development and support for all staff, Social and emotional learning (SEL) programmes, A positive behaviour framework, Culturally-responsive practices, High-expectations for learning, Prioritising respectful and positive relationships
  • Creating a trauma-sensitive school is a holistic learning intervention
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