Thursday 23 March 2017 News Updated at 12:03 AM IST
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Worried about something? - Deccan Herald
Worried about something?
Alvina Clara, March 16, 2017
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indirect Although anxiety does not directly impact children's academic abilities, it can affect their capacity to grasp and learn. dh photo
Anxiety is a nervous or restless sensation that a student feels in the classroom, in front of the teacher or before an exam.

An anxious brain can’t absorb new information or even retrieve previously learned information as effectively as a non-anxious brain, thus debilitating one’s performance. It emanates into behaviours such as discomfiture in asking questions or speaking frankly, extreme fright of committing mistakes, yearning to be 'point-perfect’, peer seclusion and difficulty in making friends, weariness, exhaustion, or falling asleep in class, inexplicable changes in conduct and plummeting of confidence level.

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The feel of worthlessness and thoughts of failing in exam may creep in too. Illogical thoughts of being castigated by the teacher or mocked by classmates may arise. Elevated heart and respiratory rate, nausea, stomachache, unexplained headache, light-headedness, trembling, strained muscles, and breathlessness are bodily manifestations of anxiety. Excessive nervousness can interfere in a student’s regular functioning, with a lot of qualms hijacking the mind, creating strain and dwindling energy levels. The impact is lethargy and loss of interest in activities.

Anxiety creates an uncomfortable atmosphere that diminishes a student’s response rate. Even though the students may be aware of an answer, due to uneasiness caused by panic, they are unable to narrate or explain when questions are asked by the teacher. They may break eye contact, shiver, remain silent and drift apart into loneliness. On the flip side, anxiety in some can lead to aggressiveness. When children are feeling upset or threatened and are not able to manage their emotions, the defensive mode of flight or fight can kick in.
They throw temper tantrums at peers or teachers, fling stationery or pound the desk abruptly. They imagine the worst and become paranoid, going overboard in their reaction.

Those kids who are forced by parents with overtly high expectations struggle with perfectionism and become neurotically disturbed and irritated when efforts don’t result as per expectations. Such kids will get agitated about tests much earlier than their classmates and may begin dreading certain assignments, subjects or examinations. They start doubting their abilities in a subject, declining their learning fervour, which is often mistaken for a learning disorder. We tend to think of precision as a good thing, but when children are overly self-critical, it can sabotage their overall performance and tarnish their self-esteem. Due to irrational fear, an apprehensive child might erase his or her work repetitively until there’s a hole in the paper - or expend time compiling, rewriting and overdoing an assignment that never seems to finish.

Impatient children perform best in a serene, supportive and organised classroom. Because change and uncertainty can be unsettling, a structured classroom will let children feel safe and stable. An ideal situation is a teacher who maintains authority optimistically, using rationale and respect, rather than fear of reprimand. Although anxiety does not inevitably impact children’s academic abilities, it can affect their ability to grasp and learn. Parents and teachers can coalesce to help a child succeed in the classroom by enforcing a feeling of safety and security in the child during demanding times. Keep them seated away from wildly boisterous classmates, who distract their focus, to keep their concentration solely on their work in class.

Assist the students to recognise symptoms of nervousness and discuss soothing strategies such as reading quality self-help books, websites or listening to hymns to uplift the sense of wellness. Teach the children relaxation techniques they can do at school, such as positive thinking, deep breathing exercises, indulging in outdoor games and extracurricular activities. Persuade parents to spend time during meals with kids, use talk therapy, or make their children take breaks in the form of walk during study hours. Let them encourage children to perform better, but never coerce them into unhealthy rivalry of compelling perfection. With the right support, anxiety can be managed and reduced, allowing students to fully participate in learning activities and experience more positive interactions with
others.
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