14 junho 2019

Testimony: Training course about Emergency Pedagogy by Gina

Emergency pedagogy is an emergent topic that needs to gain more attention. During the introductory training course on this subject, I have learned the theoretical basics of this practice and I have experienced how powerful and effective the methods of emergency pedagogy are during the practical workshops-which I need to confess that I liked most.

What I think is important to notice first is how emergency pedagogy started. The trigger for this was the keen observation of its founder, Bernd Ruf, who saw that during the aftermath of a natural or human-made disaster, only the wounded children were receiving attention and necessary help, while the rest, which had no external injuries, were left to deal with their internal injuries. And exactly this is the place and the moment where emergency pedagogy becomes crucial: in the very first days after a disaster took place, when most of the children are inert, in shock. Some of them may have no expression, some may have lost everything, and some might tell a story where they needed to get out from a stack of dead bodies.

It is not difficult to imagine that some of them will remain traumatized after these horrific events if they don’t receive the necessary help and guidance to cope with these traumatic situations. So in order to help them, there are emergency pedagogy intervention teams, that once arrived at the disaster place, apply different kinds of methods based on movement, singing, drawing or clay modeling in order to help the children and also adults to release their physical and psychological ‘cramp’. The best way to describe how emergency pedagogy works is to think of a wound- which represents the trauma, that needs to be protected in order to prevent it from getting infected (which would represent a disorder). So in the same way that first medical aid is provided by putting a plaster on a physical wound, emergency pedagogy is protecting the inner wound, by sustain its healing process.

Another aspect that I found important is the classification of traumas and also the statistics about how people recover from the different types of traumas. Most interesting I found the information that up to 80% out of the traumatized children recover from their trauma within 6 months, if the trauma was caused by a natural disaster. Which means that we have the ability within us to recover from a natural disaster and the only thing that we can do to help the traumatized children is to trigger their self-healing capacity. But while we are structured to cope and overcome the traumas produced by natural disasters, or we could say, disasters produced by an ‘’invisible hand’, we are no so good in coping with what is called a ‘relationship trauma’- where a real, closed person is the cause of the trauma.

It was extremely helpful for me to understand how a relationship trauma reflects itself in the behavior of traumatized children and adults, how a trauma is changing the functions of our brain and how the relationship trauma is the one that is the most difficult to heal. I think it is extremely important that people become more aware about the effects and symptoms of this type of trauma and in this way, it should become less taboo to speak about it, especially for the victims. It is also important that victims know that they can be helped through various methods and that it is almost necessary to search for specialized help. Another concept that we could focus on is posttraumatic growth, through which victims get stronger after dealing with their trauma.

As a conclusion, participating to this training course was one of the most interesting experiences I have had. What impressed me most besides everything that I have learned was the flow and the good vibe of our group. I think the whole atmosphere was amazing. So it was normal that the first days after my return where quite difficult, but luckily I could quickly ask the children from my classroom to play with me a ‘Tipi -Tipi, Tapa -Tapa, Topo -Topo’ song and everything came back to ‘normal’ again. Not only that I am using with them many of the exercises that I’ve learned during the practical workshops, but I’m also aiming to make other educators and parents more aware about the importance emergency pedagogy and the benefits of using these kind of therapeutically methods.

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