Classroom stress is real. Between the pressure of getting into top universities upon graduation from secondary school and the pressure of achieving great results in SPM or STPM, students can experience high levels of stress. Teachers have the privilege of guiding students through this tough time and alleviating some of the pressure and stress. But how do we relieve stress on students?
We’ve compiled a 4-point listicle below to guide teachers into relieving the pressure of exams on students.
You’ve heard of peer pressure. Why not peer support? Often, students may not be comfortable sharing their personal struggles with a teacher. This is where peer-to-peer support comes in.
Teachers can assign a “buddy” to journey with and support a fellow student who’s struggling. Students who feel the most pressure usually are the ones who may be getting bad grades.
A buddy system could help the student in his/her academics while addressing the possible emotional issues that arise. With a peer support system, students (teenagers in particular) are more likely to open up and voice out their struggles and the cause of the challenges they face. Simply by talking to someone, the stress can be reduced significantly.
Contrary to popular belief, teachers do not read minds (as much as we’d love to!). Students may want to give the teacher feedback about his or her teaching methods or possibly seek clarity on certain topics. A Feedback Day creates a safe space for students to open up to teachers and let them know how they can improve.
Some examples of feedback that students might voice out are:
Teaching is too fast – not everyone can keep up with the speed
Quizzes are too often – lesser time to study earlier chapters
Teacher speaks too softly
Teacher can do a recap of previous lesson at the start of each day.
Classroom environment is not conducive for lessons – too hot or too dusty etc.
The most important aspect of this exercise is that the teacher must be receptive to any feedback given – even negative views. Appreciate and thank the students for their openness to share. Feedback should be taken seriously and be translated into action. Challenge students to come up with viable solutions to overcome possible issues. Their young, fresh minds could figure out creative solutions. For the shy ones who may not be comfortable voicing out their feedback, you can also place a feedback box to drop their written feedback anonymously.
Instead of the teacher talking throughout the class, encourage students to self-study and present what they’ve learnt in small groups. Implement this idea for a recap week where the students present parts of the syllabus that they understand. This would be a great way to go through material that has been taught as well as give students the confidence to take on chapters of the subject before the exams.
Some students do better in oral presentations as compared to written exams. An exercise of Presentation Week will reveal which students have a better understanding of the subject matter when speaking. Encourage students to insert humour into their presentations. However lengthy their presentation is, remember to give them positive affirmation and constructive feedback. The aim is to build their confidence and remove the stress of oncoming examinations.
Students love changes in their daily routine. A pleasant surprise would be the introduction of a guest speaker to provide the lesson of the day. Choose a Subject Matter Expert (SME) to volunteer his or her time to share some knowledge on the subject for the day. You’ll be surprised how many people would happily oblige!
Guest speakers do not necessarily have to be SMEs, but they can be motivational speakers too.
In this stressful period, students need to be reassured that they can survive this and move on to become successful individuals. A motivational speaker could encourage students to see beyond their school life and further into the future. Many motivational speakers have experienced failures during their younger days and understand what the students are going through. They will provide the exact advice that the kids need.
The Taylor’s school marketing team can help in connecting you to great speakers who can cover topics like stress management, resilience, and study tips and tricks. You can reach out to the team via the email email@example.com to find out more.
The most important aspect of understanding students’ stress and pressure of exams is to come down to their level and empathise with them. Show them that you care and put in effort to relieve their stress and current unfortunate predicament. These 4 ideas above may kickstart your journey to helping students overcome stress.
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