Saturday, June 7, 2014

Anxiety in the Classroom.. What is it, and how can we reduce it

In Educational Psychology, Anita Woolfolk (2013) defines anxiety as “a general uneasiness, a feeling of self-doubt, and sense of tension” (p. 453).  She also indicates that anxiety can be both a cause and an effect of school failures.  Students may do poorly on a test because they are anxious, and as a result their anxiety level increases due to their poor performance.  It is proven that anxiety can have a profound effect on a child’s performance in school and should not be used as a stimulus for learning. 
Woolfolk (2013) indicates that anxiety can have both a cognitive and effective component.  When looking at the cognitive effects, a child may worry or have negative thoughts.  The child may constantly think about how horrible it would be to fail an assignment for test.  On the other hand, when looking at the affective side there is evidence that it “involves physiological and emotional reactions such as sweaty palms, upset stomach, racing heartbeat, or fear” (Woolfolk, 2013, p. 453).  Anxiety can affect a child’s learning and their ability to perform well on tests.  According to Woolfolk (2013) anxiety interferes with three points.  These points are a child’s focusing attention, learning, and testing (Woolfolk, 2013, p. 453). 
Anxiety should not be used as a stimulus for learning.  If a child has high anxiety in a classroom, he or she may not be able to stay focused on the task and learn new material.  The child may be constantly worrying about learning the information for the future test that he or she is not allowing his or herself the time and practice to learn the new information.  Children need good strong learning strategies and a less anxious environment for success. 

One great video that I found that really helps children to reduce their anxiety and learn to relax is through implementing yoga into the classroom. The video shows how yoga was brought into practice in the classroom to help students feel less anxious, which can have a detrimental affect on their focus and well being.  I love this idea and I think that it is something I would love to incorporate into my future classroom. 


Woolfolk, A. (2013). Educational Psychology (12th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.

1 comment:

  1. Lisa that video was awesome and such a good idea. I think everyone should incorporate this into their classroom one way or another. Anxiety is something everyone suffers from one way or another some people just experience it more intense then others.I want to create a classroom that is welcoming enough that anxiety melts away upon entering into the room.