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Dealing with Student Anxiety in the Classroom
In today’s classroom, children are now faced
with more problems than their social circle and studies. How does one deal with
anxiety? The classroom is no longer limited to its four walls. But as the world
becomes the classroom, children are also being exposed to what’s out there.
The internet is not only used for information. Children are also being exposed to the global platform. They are aware that there is so much going on; they are not censored to all negative experiences, such as divorce and death. Many children face performance anxiety because their parents are constantly pushing their children to perform. Parents also set the example from their own work ethic, pushing themselves to perform well at work and committing a lot of time to their work schedule. Extracurricular activities can also be a cause for anxiety, meaning that most children are no longer doing a sport just for fun, but are in it for the competition. Parents and coaches, as well as peer groups can also place unwanted pressure on the child to perform, hence causing anxiety.
Experts, such as child psychologist Golda Ginsburg, PhD, explains that “parents and teachers should determine whether a child has anxiety when there is fear or danger associated with the thought and that it affects their behaviour. There is also a healthy anxiety which can also drive someone to perform well on a test, but it shouldn’t consume the child’s life. A teacher should also be responsible for informing the parents should they see a child suffering from anxiety at school.” (APA.org)
Physical symptoms of anxiety include stomach aches and headaches. According to Health Central, there are some tips to reduce classroom anxiety; small group work encourages student participation and reduces social anxiety. It is also recommended to switch up the groups every so often because children can sometimes exclude others. Anxiety can definitely affect a child’s academic performance. Another way to reduce anxiety in the classroom is to stick to the routine; most children seek comfort in routine and they don’t like being rushed into new activities. (HealthCentral.com)
Teachers may post up the daily activities on the wall so that children can follow. If changes should be done to the schedule, let the class know in advance so that the children can brace themselves for the change and know that it is coming. Should you see a child suffering from anxiety it is important to remove them from the “stressful situation” and send them to a quiet, safe space for some downtime, such as a social worker’s office. Usually, the parent and the teacher are both aware of the child’s anxiety issues and they can accommodate a child suffering from school anxiety with extra testing time, shorter class schedule or extra tutoring or counseling for reassurance.
Anxiety can be dealt with when recognized. Students should not have to suffer alone and a responsible adult, such as a parent or teacher should not turn a blind eye to it. There are always non-medical ways of treating anxiety and most of the time by having a discussion with the child, you can see where their anxiety stems from. Should anxiety consume a child’s life and affect their mood and behavior permanently, it is important to seek professional assistance.
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