Many children throughout Australia are returning to the classroom after months of blockade and distance learning. Not surprisingly, students may be concerned about what return uncertainty means to them academically and socially.
Some people have existing worries at home that can affect their mental health, such as the financial burden on their family.
According to the survey Anxiety and depression have grown among young people During a pandemic. The social and emotional effects of anxiety are often explored, but many may not be aware that anxiety can also have a significant impact on a child’s schoolwork.
Currently 1 in 7 Australians Experience anxiety.. NS Prevalence of anxiety in children Causes of concern: 6.1% of girls and 7.6% of boys.And the study shows the median age Onset of anxiety It’s been 11 years.
Importantly, these were statistics Previous Pandemic. August of this year, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Published studies It shows that 25% of young people worldwide are experiencing clinical anxiety. This study showed that the prevalence of depression and anxiety symptoms in COVID-19 doubled compared to pre-pandemic estimates.
Anxiety is when you feel uncomfortable tension, anxiety, lightheadedness, increased heart rate, stomach agitation, restlessness, and / or panic.
In stressful situations such as taking exams, you may feel anxious or a little worried to improve your performance. However, anxiety plays an important function, but it becomes a problem when it becomes intolerable and begins to interfere with our daily functions.
How it affects a child’s academic ability
Attention control theory It provides a well-supported explanation of how anxiety occurs in the classroom. Theory believes that increased anxiety impairs the efficiency of mental processes (executive function), but does not necessarily impair performance accuracy.
research Shows the negative effects of anxiety About executive function of adults.It can affect us Inhibition (Ability to control impulses), shift (When switching or shifting tasks or requests), and update (Information is stored and monitors and updates information in the cognitive system that is manipulated to complete tasks — known as working memory).
Several studies have investigated the results of anxiety-related problems with executive function regarding children’s academic performance. However, research is still limited.
One study We found that the ability to suppress and shift attention and update working memory information was associated with literacy and computational problems. For example, poor renewal (or working memory) was associated with poor math, while poor suppression was associated with poor overall performance.
Our lab is currently testing exactly how anxiety relates to a child’s cognitive process and thus to classroom achievement. But this is what we have guessed so far.
How theory can help explain the difficulties of the classroom
Based on attention control theory, anxious children’s attention may be directed to anxious thoughts rather than classroom work.
Children may not be able to control their thoughts. For example, they may find this task too difficult or they may fail. This can cause problems in shifting focus to focus on schoolwork.
When new information is presented, the child’s working memory needs to be updated and their attention needs to remain focused on the task of absorbing new material.
However, if attention is focused on information that is not relevant to the task, such as negative thoughts, performance can be inefficient (time consuming) and inaccurate (poor quality).
Tips for parents and teachers
There are many things teachers and parents can help, but here are 10 tips.
Providing peace of mind with statements like “mistakes and minor setbacks are the normal part of learning something new” and normalizing mistakes.
Build confidence.This means praising the children’s efforts and reminding them of the times when they were successful.
actively. Use age-appropriate language to have difficult discussions about the divorce of a friend’s parents and the fears associated with a pandemic. When talking to a 5-year-old child, you might say: “It sounds like you’re worried because Joey’s parents broke up, but you may too. One thing is for sure, Joey’s parents. Both I love him so much we Please be your parents. Or, when talking to a 16-year-old teacher, the teacher might say: Obtaining information from trusted sources, such as doctors, gives you more peace of mind by weighing the strengths and weaknesses of decision making. To reduce not clear Less likely to worry
Listen and be ready to empathize
Adjust Please take extra time.Providing big tasks with small chunks
Provide structure and routine
Get rid of distractions and set a time to worry later. Parents may say: “OK, do your homework, have a supper, take a walk in the block with Scooby, then you and I sit down and talk about what’s bothering you. If you like, regular” worry You can schedule “time”. “
Practice mindfulness. Breathe, exercise, rest and eat well.Take regular breaks
Remember that anxiety is contagious.If adults at school or at home are anxious or worried, it affects their children
Seek professional help if necessary.
Keep in mind that by providing a calm environment, your child can improve executive functioning and maximize the chances of achieving it at school.
The important thing is that this approach provides an improvement feedback loop. In other words, the more successful your child feels, the less worry you have.
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