“Anxiety tends to lock up the brain, making school hard for anxious kids,” says neurologist and former teacher, Ken Schuster. It is the entitlement of all students to be educated in a positive learning environment.
On a daily basis, students with and without disabilities suffer from anxiety when given rigorous academic assignments and tasks. Most of the time, when students experience these emotions, teachers are often unaware that their students are dealing with anxiety. Students suffer on a daily basis from anxiety due to a variety of school related factors, so reducing this anxiety is important for helping increase academic achievement. Although many teenagers are exceptionally good at dealing with their anxiety, some show obvious symptoms.
Each symptom can lead to various types that affect different parts of the body. “The most common types of anxiety that are seen within a school setting are: separation anxiety, social anxiety, selective mutism, generalized anxiety, and obsessive- compulsive disorder” (Ehmke). Separation anxiety occurs in children when they become anxious and worried when being away from their parents or caregivers. This is most common in young children, but can become apparent to teenagers when they go off to college. Social anxiety is seen in those who are self-conscious to the point that it is difficult for them to participate and socialize with their classmates. Selective mutism refers to the struggle that students have when it comes to public speaking or communicating with a teacher in the school setting. Generalized anxiety, one of the most common types, occurs when students worry daily about a variety of things, particularly about school performance and perfectionism. Lastly, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is seen when the minds of children are filled with stressful thoughts that tend to be unwanted (Ehmke).
Each of these types varies from person to person, however, they all affect the classroom environment and academic achievement of students. “Anxiety usually affects students in a negative way, however, in some cases it can actually be motivating” (Dobson). This is especially true for those who experience perfectionism, as they always strive to their absolute best to the extent that their work is considered perfect. “Studies have found that the typical association between anxiety and its negative outcomes appeared to be disrupted among those with higher levels of anxiety motivation” (Dolan).
Dolan states that, “The study labeled this idea, in which a number of students use their anxiety to essentially motivate themselves, anxiety motivation.” Within the school setting, there are a variety of things that can be done to reduce the academic anxiety that students face, but there is no way to completely erase the disorder. In order to lessen stress in the school setting, teachers can work with their students to improve their test scores and assignments. Doing so will assist in reducing test anxiety, thus having a positive effect on their students. When provided with the study tools needed for specific assignments and tests, the anxiety of students lessens.
Speaking from experience, students have no problem completing extra work as means for improving their grades and succeeding in the classroom.