Monday, August 28, 2017

How stressed are your students?

I've been reading quite a bit lately about high school students and stress (especially students in AP and IB programs). I'm also talking with my daughter (10th grade, IB program) about stress (not very successfully) and it's making me wonder about the connections between high school psychology and student stress.

This topic "fits" most obviously in a "Health and Stress" unit, but I'm not sure how many of us teach a chapter like that? It could belong in the Motivation and Emotion unit too? Or maybe just Bio Psychology? I've talked with many high school psych teachers about how the Cognition unit can help students figure out how to study and how to "learn how to learn." I wonder if there might be similar and equally important lessons from our psychology content about how to FEEL about learning (and trying, and failing, and succeeding, and how to handle the emotional components of learning).

I don't have many great resources to share about this yet, and I'd love to hear from you all. Here's a good (I think) article from Psychology Today - might be a place to start?

(Image source: - labelled for reuse) 

posted by Rob McEntarffer

1 comment:

James Kostka said...

First, I want to thank you for your post. I think discussing this topic is important - simply acknowledging the stress that students feel can be a very empowering experience for them, especially within a broader educational environment that provides little choice in the tasks they are required to do.
With regards to the specific "unit" you can teach this in, I think your obvious link into a "health and stress" unit is a good call, but why not explore the nuances of this topic even further in other units? This could be a central theme throughout students' study of psychology – you can link it easily to motivation (e.g. autonomy-supportive vs. controlling environments), bio psychology (how stress affects the release of neurochemicals), cognition (being proactive about how to reduce stress through emphasizing "learning how to learn" rather than rote memorization), etc. This situates your students' learning in their own lives and schooling as well as provides a "core theme" of psychology that can be explored in-depth throughout the year (i.e. "the many ways in which a lack of psychological satisfaction of needs can be damaging"). In exploring this throughout the year, they are then emboldened to critically reflect on current school practices that contribute to their stress from multiple lenses – this will better prepare them not only to handle stress in their lives, but to critically analyze the world around them as they progress throughout their lives (which is what I believe we as educators should enforce).
Here are a few resources I hope will help to explore this theme throughout the entire course rather than localized in one unit:
I hope this helps - thank you again for your post!