A Classroom of anxious students In the current

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A Classroom of anxious students? In the current climate where we may be increasingly

A Classroom of anxious students? In the current climate where we may be increasingly time poor, are there nevertheless more interventions the concerned lecturer could adopt to lessen student anxiety and further support effective learning ? Dr Julie Anderson, University of Plymouth and ESCalate.

This session. The back story to today’s presentation – The school pupil study –

This session. The back story to today’s presentation – The school pupil study – The university student study Current work with academic colleagues Their own learning stories will be in full in the paper. Focus today on quotes from their conversations re what has helped them in their learning and what might further support our students today Summary and early conclusions. copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 2

Anxiety in the literature “Social anxiety is common” (Furmark, 2002) “Linked to poor attainment

Anxiety in the literature “Social anxiety is common” (Furmark, 2002) “Linked to poor attainment in school” (Stein et al, 1999) “Affects memory and concentration adversely”(Wells and Matthews, 1994) It is also known as: Audience anxiety, Presentation anxiety, Communication apprehension , Social phobia/ social anxiety disorder(Russell, 2006) Balance: can be helpful spur to learning copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 3

Research relevance “All too often, research tries to find out if people are 'anxious',

Research relevance “All too often, research tries to find out if people are 'anxious', then studies relationships between the trait and other traits or performances; but as educators we should be more concerned as to what people do when feeling anxious” (Sutherland, 1983) copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 4

Back story • This new research builds on two earlier studies presented as a

Back story • This new research builds on two earlier studies presented as a paper at the ISSo. TL conference in Sydney in 2007( Anderson, 2007) • Can be accessed via the ESCalate website. • NW school Year 4 class re whole class teacher questioning • Study with 13 Masters students at a Russell group university in West of England: focus on presentations copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 5

School study conclusions • Every child admitted to experiencing some sense of being ill

School study conclusions • Every child admitted to experiencing some sense of being ill at ease during times of whole class teacher questioning • Teacher questioning of pupils in front of their peers commonly resulted in anxiety, worry and fear and associated negative feelings, including embarrassment and shame -as well some positives. • Led to pupils employing coping strategies that could arguably be adversely affecting their learning copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 6

University student study - conclusions 12 of the 13 students talked about: being frightened

University student study - conclusions 12 of the 13 students talked about: being frightened generally, nervousness, worry, concern over subject content, feeling silly, lacking knowledge in Q&A time after their presentation 2 had specific fears about presenting in front of the lecturer Majority said that in relation to their peers, those relationships were all important – and this echoed the school study; pupils said same Coping strategies: using Power. Point , practice, not looking at audience, adequate prep. time, using humour, trying to go first - and appearing calm copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 7

We know our anxious students don’t we? The really anxious student may be hard

We know our anxious students don’t we? The really anxious student may be hard to spot! The apparently vivacious, lively Home student - sick with nerves - opted out (only one to do so) The quiet, apparently reticent International student – presentation confident. She was the only one! copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 8

Current study - context • New study (2010) explored the learning of successful academics

Current study - context • New study (2010) explored the learning of successful academics fro m student days to present • Invited to reflect back on experiences in HE, especially re difficulties/ challenges in terms of their learning • Suggestions that could be relevant to others developing a more robust assertive style of learning / in HE today offered as a result of their stories copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 9

The 12 interviewees and their institutions Interviewees 7 female; 5 male invited. (1 male

The 12 interviewees and their institutions Interviewees 7 female; 5 male invited. (1 male to complete) • 5 Senior lecturers or equiv. . , 3 Heads of Dept. , • 2 Research Associates, 1 Dean, 1 (about to be) Vice Chancellor • Aged late thirties to late fifties. Higher Education Institutions ( HEIs) • 7 HEIs - in NW, SE, Midlands and West country – 3 HEIs pre- ’ 92 – 4 post- ’ 92 copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 10

Methodology in brief • Semi-structured/ research conversations • Ethical and anonymity considerations outlined although

Methodology in brief • Semi-structured/ research conversations • Ethical and anonymity considerations outlined although one said: • “ I don’t care if they can work out who I am!” • Text from face to face conversation or phone conversation returned for checking/ additions • All returned and second drafts used here copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 11

Students and Higher Education- then and now • It was noted by some of

Students and Higher Education- then and now • It was noted by some of the interviewees that of course there is no classic student • “ So many are working and still studying later” • Developing a sense of self as students is “vital, especially non traditional learners” • “You have to push yourself” • Students “today are more instrumental”( although one interviewee also thought they themselves were essentially instrumental; only one). copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 12

Students and Higher Education – then and now cont. “Resilience needs to be developed

Students and Higher Education – then and now cont. “Resilience needs to be developed and having to do something can be characterful” Another said that they are more used to being supported with IT, unlike own early HE experience Academia is just as cut throat as anywhere else but “ they hide it”. It is an industry and you have to be flexible to survive “ It was a different world and institutions were different from now; it was “less about bums on seats and more about life enhancing opportunities” copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 13

Styles of teaching Teaching strategies including differing activities that “ try to meet all

Styles of teaching Teaching strategies including differing activities that “ try to meet all the student needs” today More varied style of T&L more common today (What) “distinguishes the good teacher. . . is the ability to sustain student confidence when the subject matter. . may be undermining their identity” “Content has to be the driver of teaching but sensitivity to the student’s struggles is important too” “Knowing when a word of encouragement will do more than exposing their weakness” copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 14

Psychological pressures • “ Significant pain can be caused when people make a transition

Psychological pressures • “ Significant pain can be caused when people make a transition from their usual or expected path – into one around education” • With ref. the WP agenda, “Education. . . can make students strangers in their own community” • With ref to International students “Esteem, family status can be threatened or enhanced depending on students’ educational results” copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 15

About students and their peers • “ People you learn with are important. Learning

About students and their peers • “ People you learn with are important. Learning can be an insecure business” • Peers have been “ key in enthusing. . and supporting” • Others provided “ confidence to push and open doors” in their own learning journey copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 16

Use of IT “A crucial aspect of learning” now The use of IT made

Use of IT “A crucial aspect of learning” now The use of IT made one “think about learning differently, seeing it as a learning tool” The fact that students may be the experts in respect of IT, especially the social networking/ blogs etc was talked about as exciting Down side was discussed as “ new technology is not all joined up yet” so may require more time for both staff and students Email and easy accessibility can lead to unrealistic expectations by today’s students copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 17

Mentoring Most interviewees talked about the value of mentors or mentor type figures as

Mentoring Most interviewees talked about the value of mentors or mentor type figures as students and ongoing through their careers. • One described a current mentoring colleague as “ personal trainer for the brain” • Another spoke of people being key influences on her decision to go into academia “ a pivotal moment” • “What really helped was asking for a mentor. . . they have brought useful and invaluable perspectives” • Having someone to write with who is a “rigorous academic” helped self discipline copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 18

Mentors cont. • “Can help develop personal characteristics and focus on results” • The

Mentors cont. • “Can help develop personal characteristics and focus on results” • The most helpful mentor may be your or the student’s partner/ family member • They can “sustain and motivate” • Their “enthusiasm” has helped “drive them forwards in their career” and the importance of such figures can be key • If the student doesn’t have anyone, peers or tutors may have an even more vital role ( the drop out student in the Masters study had no supportive family) copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 19

Reflective learners • Asking students to reflect more thought useful. • Use of goals

Reflective learners • Asking students to reflect more thought useful. • Use of goals too • One interviewee considered themselves a “ natural reflector” but thought it could be supported / developed in others • Another said the same and that we as their teachers could help copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 20

Summary and early conclusions • Recognise that the current student experience may be very

Summary and early conclusions • Recognise that the current student experience may be very different from our own • Inspiration re subject and learning cited as vital • Today’s students may be more instrumental because of different pressures on them today? • Varied styles of teaching including using new technology generally acknowledged as useful, especially in supporting the anxious student one on one copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 21

Summary and early conclusions cont. • Peers and mentors that are supportive seen as

Summary and early conclusions cont. • Peers and mentors that are supportive seen as invaluable – so fostering students’ own inter relationships where possible • “We can empower them to develop strategies to become more resilient” stated by several of the interviewees • Helping students to become more reflective. . and. . . ”challenge stereotypes or labels from childhood” that could hold them back copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 22

Summary and early conclusions cont. 2 “Knowing when a word of encouragement will do

Summary and early conclusions cont. 2 “Knowing when a word of encouragement will do more than exposing their weakness (is the mark of a good teacher)” copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 23

References Anderson, J, (2007) accessible at http: //www. escalate. ac. uk/3812 Furmark, T (2002)

References Anderson, J, (2007) accessible at http: //www. escalate. ac. uk/3812 Furmark, T (2002) “Social Phobia: overview of community studies”. Acta Psychiatra. Scandinavica 105: 84 -93 Russell, G. and Shaw, S (2006) Interim report for ESCalate, www. escalate. ac. uk Stein, M. B. , Mc Quaid J. R. , Laffye, C. and Mc. Cahill, M. E. (1999) Social phobia in the Primary Care setting: Journal of Family Practice 48: 514 – 519 S Sutherland, M. (1983) "Anxiety, Aspirations and the Curriculum" in Marland, M. (ed. ) (1983) Sex Differentiation and Schooling. London: Heinemann Educational Books Wells, A and Matthews, G (1994) Attention and Emotion: A Clinical Perspective. Hove, Psychology Press copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 24

With thanks to ESCalate, The UK Subject Centre for Education for supporting this work.

With thanks to ESCalate, The UK Subject Centre for Education for supporting this work. The full version of this PPT is available via www. escalate. ac. uk. The accompanying paper will follow later this autumn. Please search under Julie Anderson Alternatively, email me at julie. [email protected] ac. uk copyright J. Anderson - ISSOTL, Liverpool, 2010 25