Make Communication Work with Anxious Students: 5 Secrets to Know
Teaching is not only about giving the information. It is about interacting with your students all the time, understanding them and giving feedback. What if a student does not want to interact? What if a student is not typical?
Today, there are many students suffering from anxiety problems and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). With such students typical behavioral strategies do not work. As it turned out, there are many teachers who are not aware of that. They need to learn more about strategies on how to improve the interaction with anxious students taking into consideration their mental health.
Below you can read about five secrets that will help you work with anxious students.
- Pay attention to avoid attention-seeking problems. If you are dealing with an anxious student, ignoring them is the worst solution ever. If you do not pay enough attention to such a student, they will think you do not care. As a result, it can turn into a massive attention-seeking ‘performance.’ To avoid it, do not be scared to pay positive attention to a student. Interact. Why don’t you tell them you want to see their perspective on assignment? Tell them you will check on them in 5 minutes. Repeat this positive attention strategy several times, and your students will see that you care.
- Distractions as a break from negative thinking. When the students are torturing themselves with negative thoughts like ‘I’m not attractive’ or ‘I’m so stupid,’ try to distract them from these thoughts. There are tons of distractions like Sudoku puzzles or crossword. When a student is engaged in an activity, it leaves no time for negative thinking. With younger learner you can try hidden pictures puzzles.
- A countdown is not for anxious students. Often a teacher uses a countdown to finish a task. ‘We will check the exercise in 5 minutes.’ What is happening with anxious students? They start worrying. There is a lot of pressure. They are getting nervous and as a result cannot concentrate to finish the task at all. So why don’t you come over to a student and decide on the stopping point together? In that case, a student will not worry they cannot keep up the pace of a task. Moreover, they will be calm, and it will be easier for them to concentrate.
- Teach your students self-calming strategies. There are tons of strategies that can help anxious students to calm themselves while doing the difficult tasks. They can work with their friend or get down to easier tasks first and skip the hard ones. If you are dealing with a perfectionist, why don’t you give them an erase board? In such a way they will avoid bursting into anger because of some mess. Students can also ask a teacher to help when they are stuck. You can also let them revise their homework first. Furthermore, it would be great if you asked your students what strategy they would like to use.
- Don’t be afraid to give anxious students a leading role. You can help your student to improve interaction by giving them a leading role in the area where they are competent enough. They can read to younger learners, or you can let them start an activity club.
Teachers need to spend more time focusing on behavior and interaction with students. If you understand them, you can help them. As a result, you will learn how to prevent outbursts, and your students will learn how to calm down.