Calling students in the classroom or asking them to read aloud can be uncomfortable.
In a conversation one day, I asked a 12-year-old student what information about stress he would like to share with teachers, parents, and other adults working with adolescents. After thinking about it for a while, he replied that he felt stressed when his teacher asked him to answer questions or read aloud. I asked him to elaborate a bit. He went on to say that he felt stressed and anxious when teachers walked around the classroom and randomly called students without time to look ahead or look for answers.
Many students have these experiences but don’t know how to articulate them or deal with them. Navigate 360 reports that 58% of students are concerned about their mental health. As our educational, social and family lives change dramatically, children are suffering from never-before-seen stressors that affect their mental health.
Adults who support young people do not intend to harm the mental health of their students, but unfortunately this can happen unintentionally. What can adults do to be more aware of what they are doing? An extension at Michigan State University provides adults with tips on how to reduce stress and anxiety in young people at school and in meetings. I’m here.
- Provide an agenda or outline of topics to be covered in the class or meeting in advance, and provide a list of student names to read aloud and answer questions.
- Allow students to spontaneously answer questions and read when they feel comfortable reading.
- We provide pre-practice scripts or reading sections in case you need to know how to pronounce certain words or need to familiarize yourself with the material.
- Ask yourself why you have different lessons and activities and how they can be tailored to accommodate more students. Sometimes we do things because it’s the way we learned or someone modeled it to us, but the implication is that we can’t adjust them to reduce stress and anxiety in young people. not.
- Watch for body language and non-verbal cues for students who have difficulty reading aloud or answering questions. Then go a step further and see if there are other ways to access the lesson or skill understanding.
- Refer the student to a mental health professional if you think you have noticed signs of significant stress or anxiety. No need to diagnose them. Leave that to a professional.
We all experience stress and anxiety at some point in our lives. Typical examples are the stress and anxiety before a speech or on the first day of classes at a new school. Students need support through these experiences to learn how to successfully navigate them and become more resilient. The more adults that can support adolescent development, including mental and emotional health, the more prepared students are for the future.
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