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J Sch Health. 2013 Jun;83(6):379-88. doi: 10.1111/josh.12041.

Teachers' challenges, strategies, and support needs in schools affected by community violence: a qualitative study.

Author information

1
University of Maryland School of Public Health, 1142 School of Public Health, College Park, MD 20742, USA. efmaring@umd.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Exposure to community violence compromises teacher effectiveness, student learning, and socioemotional well-being. This study examined the challenges, strategies, and support needs of teachers in urban schools affected by high levels of community violence.

METHODS:

Twenty teachers from 3 urban middle schools with predominantly low-income African American students completed open-ended interviews. Selected schools were in geographic areas with high violent crime levels.

RESULTS:

Consistent with an ecological risk and resilience framework, findings revealed that teachers experienced challenges and adopted coping strategies at the individual, family, school, and community levels. Teachers employed a number of strategies associated with resilience, such as prayer and seeking support from family and colleagues, but also engaged in some avoidant strategies, such as emotional withdrawal and avoiding difficult students.

CONCLUSIONS:

Findings suggest interventions to improve school safety and reduce the negative impact of violence-related stressors. Teacher training in behavior management, effective school leadership, improved school security, peer mediation, expanded mental health services, and parent involvement may promote resilience among both teachers and their students.

PMID:
23586882
DOI:
10.1111/josh.12041
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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