Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program


Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell PhD

First Reader

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

Second Reader

Suresh Appavoo EdD


The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine how a trauma informed approach to behavior that supports the emotional growth of students and meets their needs for discipline and structure within a school environment affects teachers’ negative perspectives of student behavior. This study examined the impact Rainbowdance had on teacher perception of student behavior before teacher training and after training. The participants are three lower elementary teachers at Country Charter School and additional information is provided by the International Trauma Center (ITC) staff members who are implementing Rainbowdance. The data collection was done through narrative interviews, field notes and observations. This study is phenomenological in design. The data collection attempts to answer the question that guides this research, how has the Rainbowdance program affected the social emotional teaching practices and the classroom climate for teachers at one school site?

The findings indicated that the trauma informed program, Rainbowdance has impacted teacher perception of student behavior because it provides insight and understanding of how trauma in a student’s life impacts their behavior. Once a teacher is trauma informed and trained, it would be beneficial to continue the trauma informed approach to provide additional supports. The educational system would benefit greatly from adopting a trauma informed program and approach that supports teachers, thus supporting their students in understanding their needs.