Self efficacy - The Harker School

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Understanding Student Stress

(and how teachers can help) Prepared for: The Harker Teacher Institute 2015

Why am I here today?

In case you weren’t convinced….

From a study* of 3,645 Bay Area students:  “More than 70 percent of students reported that they often or always feel stressed by their schoolwork, and 56 percent reported often or always worrying about such things as grades, tests, and college acceptance.”  “Analyses of students' responses to the open-ended question, "Right now in your life, what causes you the most stress?" confirm that academics and schoolwork are major stressors for these youth.” * Conner, J. , Pope, D., and Galloway, M. Success with less stress Health and Learning,

December 2009/January 2010 | Volume 67 | Number 4 Pages 54-58.

http://www.challengesuccess.org/Portals/0/Docs/Educational-Leadership-Article-2009-12.pdf

Goals:

To highlight the underlying causes of stress.

To identify teaching strategies that can reduce student stress without sacrificing standards.

Important, but beyond our scope for today: Home-life stressors Overscheduling Standardized Tests “Competitive Stressing” Parental pressure Frequent absences

A great resource for dealing with the big picture:

“Think globally, act locally”

What can you do, in your classroom, with your students?

We need to understand what really causes stress to answer this question!

What is stress, really?

Clips from Stress - Portrait of a Killer by National Geographic*.

(6:20-10:22, 12:30-17:15) National Geographic (2008). Stress – Portrait of a Killer. United States: National Geographic Video..

What does a Pop Quiz have to do with social hierarchy?

A school is neither a troop of baboons nor a British government office….

A key factor in stress is control.

We are stressed when: External forces control our fate. We feel unable to create positive outcomes. We feel fear, insecurity, and doubt.

A key factor in stress is control.

Stress is reduced when we feel: In control of our fate Able to create positive outcomes Safety and security Self efficacy = belief that one has control over one’s own success

Greater self efficacy has been closely tied with students’ “willingness to take on challenging tasks . . . effort in the task accomplishment . . . [and] persistence in the presence of barriers” AANA Journal . Apr2015, Vol. 83 Issue 2, p133-138. 6p.

Things teachers do that stress out students (and reduce self-efficacy): “Pop Quizzes” “I have a teacher that tells us there will be two pop quizzes in the next four weeks. That means I am always worried and when I am already having a bad day I am super stressed that that will be the day the pop quiz happens.”

External forces control our fate. We feel unable to create positive outcomes. We feel fear, insecurity, and doubt.

Things teachers do that stress out students (and reduce self-efficacy): “When there are a million tests and quizzes in one week/on one day.” “Not giving us enough notice when a big test or assignment is due.” “I hate when they make last minute changes or add a bunch of stuff the day before it is due.”

External forces control our fate. We feel unable to create positive outcomes. We feel fear, insecurity, and doubt.

Things teachers do that stress out students (and reduce self-efficacy): “When they put stuff on the test that they never talked about in class” “When there is a bunch of stuff from the reading on the test that they never emphasized or told us we needed to focus on.”

Things teachers do that stress out students (and reduce self-efficacy): “When they call on me in class and they know I don’t know the answer” “When they put me on the spot” “When they grade for participation”

Note what students are not mentioning: Hard work (in moderation) Challenging material Tests and Projects (in general) Teaching styles Bad grades (when not linked to teacher unpredictability).

Challenge vs. Stress

Reducing stress is not about reducing standards.

It is about giving students the feeling they are: Safe and secure In control of their fates Able to create positive outcomes Challenge (“eustress”) occurs when students “give up a little bit of control in a setting that feels safe.” - Robert Sapolsky, Stanford University

Challenge is not about making things harder… “All my teachers say, ‘I'm treating you like this because that's how you'll be treated in college.’ Guess what? I'm not in college; I'm 15 and in high school for a reason.”* "It is not necessarily the difficulty of the work, but the workload itself that causes me the most stress, since the average is about 4–5 hours a night.”* * Conner, J. , Pope, D., and Galloway, M. Success with less stress Health and Learning,

December 2009/January 2010 | Volume 67 | Number 4 Pages 54-58.

http://www.challengesuccess.org/Portals/0/Docs/Educational-Leadership-Article-2009-12.pdf

Teaching techniques that give students control and self efficacy:

1) Communicating clear learning outcomes and assessing only those outcomes.

Outcomes can be very challenging as long as they are clear Being clear is not “making it easy” (think about that expression for a minute!)

Unit Outcomes: (What you should know or be

able to do by the end of the unit/for the semester final)

Chapter 28:

Describe the role of synapses and neurotransmitters in the nervous system as well as the role of psychoactive drugs in modifying the action of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters at the synapse.

Test question:

“Describe the effects of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters on the initiation of an action potential and explain how psychoactive drugs (use an example) can affect neurotransmitter action at the synapse. “

 “evaluation tools are not only for the student and school to document student growth … [they] can be used to increase the student’s confidence with adequate, honest, and specific feedback. In learning, it is beneficial for students to know what the expectations are for them”  AANA Journal . Apr2015, Vol. 83 Issue 2, p133-138. 6p.

Teaching techniques that give students control and optimism:

2) Formative Assessment

◦ “failure without consequence” ◦ “fail, try again, fail, try again, finally get it right, get graded.”

Teaching techniques that give students control:

3) Giving them a calendar and (as appropriate) more than one day to do work.

Calendar example

Teaching techniques that give students control and optimism:

4) Giving them choice:

Often misunderstood!

Can include power to choose: when they do the work to perform in their strongest style topic that interests them most

Teaching techniques that give students control and optimism:

5) Teach students how to manage stress:

recognizing the power of choice developing sense of self-efficacy mindfulness training

But wait….

 Yes, they are teenagers.

 Goal = to raise effective 35 year olds!

The S.T.O.P. method

    Stop what you are doing Take three deep breaths Observe the world around you Proceed with what you need to do From Mindful-S.T.O.P.: Mindfulness Made Easy for Stress Reduction in Medical Students Education in Medicine Journal . 2014, Vol. 6 Issue 2, pe48-e56. 9p.

Other (slightly more radical) stress reduction strategies to consider: Self-paced learning Project-based learning Collaborative assessment Multiple/infinite attempts at assessments Changing to a 0-4 grading scale

To consider on a school-wide level: Mandated test calendaring/conflict resolution Full alternating block schedule Reducing exam weight Exams before break

In closing, don’t forget about kindness…

Words from a retiring principal…* * George Wood, “Just be nice”, Washington Post (see Resources slide for link)

Words from a retiring principal…

Words from a retiring principal…

Some great resources:

 “Just Be Nice” article:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer sheet/wp/2013/05/22/what-has-changed-is-that-it-is harder-for-us-to-be-nice-to-kids-departing-veteran principal/  “Success with Less Stress” 

http://www.challengesuccess.org/Portals/0/Docs/Educati onal-Leadership-Article-2009-12.pdf

 A Palo Alto High student’s experience of stress:  http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2015/03/25/gu est-opinion-the-sorrows-of-young-palo-altans

Some great resources:

   National Geographic Video on Stress: National Geographic (2008). Stress – Portrait of a Killer. United States: National Geographic Video..

Often available on YouTube or can be purchased on Amazon.

  Challenge Success Website: www.challengesuccess.org

  APA information on Self Efficacy: http://www.apa.org/pi/aids/resources/education/self efficacy.aspx

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