MANAGING TEST ANXIETY

We experience anxiety when we lose control over a situation, or when we are in a stressful situation. For some of the students the anxiety triggers while taking a test. The anxious feeling can start before the test or while attempting the paper. It can range from sweaty palms, forgetfulness, stomach pains, headaches etc. Slight amount of anxiety results in improved test performance. But when it increases it affects adversely on test performance. Reduce your anxiety when it interferes with your performance in three steps:

  1. Mentally preparing for test helps in dealing with the test; be thoroughly prepared, gain confidence in knowing the course material. Be test wise and have a plan for taking the test. Initial stress or tension is normal, but relax once you get the paper in your hand. Take deep breaths and it will surely do wonders in calming you. Pace yourself in answering the number of questions you are required to do. Do not spend most of your time on questions that have less weightage.
  2. Physical preparation helps in reducing anxiety. Start preparing for the tests or exams right from the beginning and develop good study skills or habits. Rest is important for any part of the study program. Sleep early so that you can be attentive in class. People tend to face more anxiety and frustration when they are tired. Pick the time of the day when you are fresh and have high energy level for preparing for tests.
  3. Practice for exams. When you do something that is familiar it tends to lower anxiety. Take practice tests at home, it provides the opportunity to prepare and become familiar with the topics and the way you have to answer them.

Practice, practice and practice; the more you practice, the more you have command on your subject, the more confident you will be, and will improve in topics or areas that you are weak in. Engage in positive self-talk, irrational negative thinking diminishes the confidence. Instead of saying, “I can’t pass no matter what I do” or “I can’t learn” adopt realistic attitude: “I have prepared for the exam, and I can do better by putting in all my effort” or “I am working hard and will get good numbers”. Work hard and think realistically. Do not wait till the last moment to prepare for your test.

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CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT THE EASY WAY

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Every day I hear about the DO’s and DON’Ts of CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT. Teachers complain that they are not able to handle their class effectively and due to which the lesson that they have to convey suffers a lot. Classroom discipline certainly do plays an important role and is the teachers number one priority. 

The educators are of view that discipline is the key for effective teaching. And it is the number one reason for TEACHER BURNOUT, adding to dissatisfaction, depression and anxiety. 

Classroom management stands for a variety of techniques, methods, or skills employed by the teacher in having an organised class, disciplined students, who are active listeners, are attentive, and focus on academics, to be productive and enthusiastic in class. 

If in a classroom the classroom management techniques are implied or carried out effectively, the behavior of the students improves and it in turn enhances their study skills, keeping them more engaged in lesson. 

It is a general believe that effective teachers display effective and strong management skills in class, while teachers have display short comings in classroom management tend to have an indiscipline class.

Teachers role in a class is of a facilitator, one who acts as a moderator between the lesson and students. The body language of the teacher, the material the teacher uses to enhance the lesson, and the environment the teacher creates tend to bring a whole new positive energy in the class. 

On the other hand if the material or activities used for supporting lesson are not effective, the lesson is poorly designed, not engaging or interesting, or the expectations are not clear, leads to major let down for the whole lesson. The students loose the interest, there might be an increase in behavioral problems, aggression or frustration might generate.

Classroom management strategies are just not something that can be written on the paper and to be strictly followed, though I will be focusing on a few in the end. Classroom management is nothing sophisticated, the presence of mind, patience, creativity, a positive attitude and a passion for the profession keeps the water flowing. 

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To start with:

  • Develop supportive and caring environment with and among the students.
  • Organize the class, and lay down the objective of the lesson.
  • Use appropriate interventions to handle inappropriate behavior problem of students, and deal with situation positively and patiently.
  • Focus on developmental needs of the students, improve on social skills among the students to make the classroom environment positive. 
  • Develop and focus on INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR PLAN with help of counsellor.
  • Work with incentive charts or grading charts in class, or any method that let the students know what is desired from them.

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  • Focus on positively handling the situation, instead of resorting to child abuse.
  • Reinforce for positive behavior and restrain from negatively reinforcing the negative or inappropriate behavior.
  • Make use of token system for approved behavior.
  • It always serves to have a regular class routines, one which the students feel comfortable in, and know what is expected of them, as it makes it easier for them to settle down and the teacher can begin with the lesson.
  • Assign responsibilities to students for certain tasks, especially for the students who you think tend to disrupt the class. It will keep them engage in something positive. 

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PUNISHMENT

•Punishment is an action that is imposed on a person for breaking a rule showing improper conduct.
•Punishment aims to control behavior through negative means. 
TYPES OF PUNISHMENT
•Punishment involving negative verbal reprimands and disapproval, this type of punishment is also known as negative discipline.
•Punishment involving severe physical or emotional pain, as in corporal punishment.
What these punishments do?
•Both forms of punishment focus on the misbehavior and may do little or nothing to help a child behave better in future.
•The children learn that the adult is superior and the use of force be it verbal, physical or emotional is acceptable, especially over younger or weaker persons.
•The child feels angry, resentful or fearful.
•It causes shame, guilt, anxiety, increased aggression, and lack of caring for others.
VERBAL PUNISHMENTS
  • Verbal punishment is a form of negative discipline.
  • Use of short commands.
  • Some teachers use negative discipline approaches instead of corporal punishment.
NEGATIVE STRATEGIES INCLUDE
•COMMANDS: “Sit down and be quiet” or “write 100 times”.
•FORBIDDING STATEMENTS: “Don’t do that”.
•EXPLOSIVE, ANGRY STATEMENTS:You are in more trouble than you know”.
•CRITICIZING STATEMENTS: “Is that the best you can do?”
•THREATENING STATEMENTS: “If you don’t stop talking, I’ll send you to the principal’s office”.
•BELITTLING STATEMENTS: “When will you ever learn to write well?”
EMOTIONAL PUNISHMENT:

Emotional punishment is meant to humiliate the child and cause psychological pain.

•Ridiculing in public.
•Name-calling.
•Yelling.
•Denying something.
•Threats.

Sarcasm.

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT:

Corporal punishment is more visible.

•Punishing a child by making him/her stand, in or outside the class.
•Hitting the child.
•Pinching or pulling.
•Kicking, pushing or shaking.
BELIEFS FOR CORPORAL PUNISHMENT:
•Is effective.
•Prevents children from getting into trouble.
•Teaches them right from wrong.
•Is different from, physical punishment.

The research show that corporal punishment does none of these and is in fact  form of violent abuse against children.

(Durrant, Joan E. “Corporal Punishment Prevalence, Predictors & Implications for child Development”. In: Hart, Stuart N (ed.). Eliminating  corporal punishment: The way Forward to Constructive child Discipline. Paris: UNSECO Publishing. 2005.).