Anxiety Session for Instructors


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SIAST ILDC Kelsey session regarding anxiety in the Classroom and how to reduce test anxiety.

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Anxiety Session for Instructors

  1. 1. Anxiety in the Classroom Focusing on Test Anxiety Presented by Donna Foulds, Instructor, Learning Services Sasha Forsyth, Counsellor, Student Counselling Services
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Definition, symptoms, & types of test anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>Impacts of test anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>Questions to ask students </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion on your concerns & strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Questions to ask yourself as an instructor </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is Test Anxiety? <ul><li>Test anxiety causes feelings of tension and apprehension, worrisome thoughts and the activation of the fight or flight response when facing testing situations </li></ul><ul><li>Some anxiety during testing is normal and even helpful </li></ul><ul><li>Test anxiety is severe anxiety that causes test performance to suffer </li></ul><ul><li>Students can learn to manage their test anxiety with the help and understanding of instructors, program heads, learning services, and counselling </li></ul><ul><li>Spielberger’s , 1972; Ellis, 2007 </li></ul>
  4. 4. Symptoms of Anxiety <ul><li>Physical </li></ul><ul><li>Fatigue, nausea, fainting, headaches, muscle tension, sweating, vomiting, diarrhea </li></ul><ul><li>Behavioral </li></ul><ul><li>Sleep difficulties, missing class, procrastination, increase use of alcohol or caffeine, difficulty dealing with everyday decisions, avoiding homework and trouble activating, cheating </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional </li></ul><ul><li>Stressed, irritable, frustrated, overwhelmed, worried, panicked, anxious </li></ul><ul><li>Mental </li></ul><ul><li>Inability to concentrate, negative thinking, confusion, self-doubt, going blank, slower processing speed </li></ul>
  5. 5. Anxiety/Relaxation Experience <ul><li>Think about a time when you were anxious. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember what it feels like to be anxious? Now imagine feeling anxious and trying to learn or to write an exam. The process becomes more difficult! </li></ul><ul><li>Now lets take a moment to relax! </li></ul><ul><li>To counteract the flight or flight response, it is helpful for students to engage in a relaxation activity. Consider including relaxation activities in your teaching. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Some Types of Anxious Students <ul><li>Deficient in Skills: These students don’t have the skills to study &/or perform well. </li></ul><ul><li>Ex: The student may rush through the test </li></ul><ul><li>Anxiety Blockage: Efficient study skills, but problems retrieving information during an exam. </li></ul><ul><li>Ex: Exam marks not reflecting what the student knows; may experience panic during an exam </li></ul><ul><li>Perfectionist: They can’t stand making a mistake and they drive themselves to exhaustion trying to understand every concept. Nothing is every good enough. </li></ul><ul><li>Ex: Extreme pressure can lead to a break down </li></ul><ul><li>Adapted from Zeidner, 1998 </li></ul>What types of anxiety have you noticed in your students?
  7. 7. Impact of Anxiety on Students <ul><li>Test anxiety negatively affects: </li></ul><ul><li>Test results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Losing time on tests due to coping with anxiety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finishing tests early to get out of anxious situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not handing test in last because of worry that people will think they are dumb </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cheating </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Completion of post-secondary </li></ul><ul><li>Occupation selection </li></ul><ul><li>Self-esteem </li></ul><ul><li>Ergene, 2003; Nolting, 1997 </li></ul>15-20 percent of college students experience test anxiety (Ergene, 2003)
  8. 8. Impact of Student Anxiety on Instructors <ul><li>Anxiety can spread throughout class </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Test day, flow of class, instructor’s ability to deliver content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Having to address the students feelings and behaviors caused by anxiety (e.g., anger, withdrawal, crying) </li></ul><ul><li>Students or program head blaming the instructor because students are not performing well </li></ul><ul><li>Instructors may question teaching ability & experience reduced confidence in the classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Instructors may feel helpless because of limitations of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time, location, supports </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What other impacts do you feel? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Some Causes of Test Anxiety <ul><li>Learned behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Association between grades and personal worth </li></ul><ul><li>Fear of alienating significant people in the student’s life because of poor grades </li></ul><ul><li>A lack of control of one’s life situation </li></ul><ul><li>Timed tests and the fear of not finishing even if one can do all of the questions </li></ul><ul><li>Being put in courses above the student’s ability </li></ul><ul><li>Other students finishing the test </li></ul><ul><li>Nolting, 1997 </li></ul>
  10. 10. Ask Students about <ul><li>Study strategies and time management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How much time do you spend studying? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you study or what are your study strategies? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where do you study? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How is your time organized? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teach study, test taking, and study management skills in class </li></ul><ul><li>Invite Learning Services to your class to offer Student Success Seminars </li></ul><ul><li>Refer student to Learning Services to learn skills on: </li></ul><ul><li>Effective studying strategies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cue cards, study groups, interactive with text, how memory works, note taking tips, reading, technological supports </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Time management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scheduling, how to use a day planner </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Ask Students about <ul><li>2. Test taking skills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is your previous school history around taking tests? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What happens to you when writing a test? (e.g., Do you go blank? Do you know the information, but have trouble getting it out or organizing it?) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Instructor can consider other test support options </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cheat sheet, calculator, formula sheet, blank paper (e.g., brain dump) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Instructor can be open to other assessment strategies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Oral tests, collaborative tests, choices within evaluation medium </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Refer student to Learning Services to learn skills on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Effective test writing (e.g., How to write a variety of test types, using testing time effectively) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Refer to counselling if the student is going blank or is overly anxious during test </li></ul>
  12. 12. Ask Students <ul><li>What problems are they having in the class? What do they need to be successful in this class? </li></ul><ul><li>Instructors/program heads can make accommodations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extra time on exams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow students to write in a separate room </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alternate ways of assessing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ask students early in the class/program about their concerns and what they need to be successful </li></ul><ul><li>Refer students to support services that best meet the students’ needs. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Ask Students about <ul><li>4. School history </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you struggle with a particular subject? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have you received help with a specific class? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Did you go to resource room? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Did you receive any accommodations (e.g., exam in separate place)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have you had a previous assessment of your learning? </li></ul></ul>Find out school history information early on to make sure students get supports that they need Refer to Learning Services to receive support in math, reading, & writing skills Refer to Disability Counsellors, located in Counselling Services
  14. 14. Ask Students <ul><li>5. If they feel stressed or overwhelmed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are your fears and goals for the program/class? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are your expectations – From yourself? From others? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Instructors can help by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reassuring the student </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing the student with suggestions on how to manage their program/class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Referring student to Counselling Services </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Ask Students about <ul><li>6. Their general health </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sleeping quality and amount </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eating habits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health problems (physical and mental) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Refer to: </li></ul><ul><li>Counselling Services </li></ul><ul><li>Student health nurses - Jacquie and Tori </li></ul><ul><li>Doctor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Other health practitioner </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Group Discussion <ul><li>What brought you to this presentation? </li></ul><ul><li>What are your questions and concerns regarding anxiety in the classroom? </li></ul><ul><li>We will give you a few minutes to put your points on the hand out provided and then we will share and discuss as a group. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Small Group Reflection & Discussion <ul><li>Managing anxiety in the classroom </li></ul><ul><li>How do I notice when students are anxious? </li></ul><ul><li>What do I currently do to help students manage their anxiety? </li></ul><ul><li>How do I feel about dealing with anxiety in the classroom? </li></ul><ul><li>See questions and answer space on hand out </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Reflecting on teaching/classroom skills to minimize student anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>How do I evaluate my assessments and teaching? </li></ul><ul><li>How do I create open communication with students? </li></ul><ul><li>What organization/time-management strategies help me present content clearly and at a reasonable pace? </li></ul><ul><li>See questions and answer space on hand out </li></ul>Small Group Reflection & Discussion
  19. 19. Final Points As an instructor, you can have a huge impact on helping your students to succeed, whether it is modifying your assessment format and classroom approach or referring them to appropriate supports. Your Feedback: What is one point you will take away from today’s presentation? What would you like to learn more about?
  20. 20. Thank you for taking your time to share & reflect with us today. Please feel free to contact us if you have any ideas or questions about anxiety or other areas students may be struggling with. Sasha Forsyth 659-4730 Donna Foulds 659-4203
  21. 22. Reducing Anxiety in the Classroom <ul><li>Relaxation exercise as a group </li></ul><ul><li>Others from discussion </li></ul>
  22. 23. Myths of Test Anxiety <ul><li>Students are born with test anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>Test anxiety is a mental illness </li></ul><ul><li>Test anxiety cannot be reduced </li></ul><ul><li>Any level of test anxiety is bad </li></ul><ul><li>All students who are not prepared have test anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>Students with test anxiety cannot learn math </li></ul><ul><li>Nolting, 1997 </li></ul>
  23. 24. Myths of Test Anxiety <ul><li>Very intelligent students and students taking high level courses do not have test anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>Attending class and doing homework should reduce all test anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>Being told to relax during a test will make you relaxed </li></ul><ul><li>Doing nothing about test anxiety will make it go away </li></ul><ul><li>Reducing test anxiety will guarantee better grades </li></ul><ul><li>Nolting, 1997 </li></ul>
  24. 25. Math Anxiety <ul><li>Exists among many students who don’t usually experience other tensions </li></ul><ul><li>Is common among college students and more prevalent in women </li></ul><ul><li>Can be caused by being embarrassed by the teacher or other students when trying to do math problems </li></ul><ul><li>Acts as a wall preventing students from learning new math concepts </li></ul>