At present students across nation are embarking upon series of standardized tests following intense days and weeks of test preparation accompanied by nervousness and worry from both parents and educators. Many of these test participants are English as Second Language (ESL) learners with wide variety of social, learning potential and emotional strengths, challenges, cultures and interests. Among these young learners, there are many who put themselves to bed in evening, get themselves up and ready for school, and don’t take breakfast, prepare homework times or adult support to guide their school days.
Testing and Stressing
To devise our response to these discoveries, here are some of questions which we must be asking ourselves during testing season:
Have we created meaningful associations in our testing environment?
If child or youth doesn’t perform well on test, why not?
Do we know and understand where the errors were?
Was there nervousness in simply taking test which immobilized parts of brain that think, problem solve and discern with logic and fluidity?
Several students are walking through the classroom doors in constant survival mode, where everyday pressure is waking part of their lives. We know that anxiety shuts down learning -- there is ultimate cognitive collapse. Perceived stress is as individual as our thumbprints, and its direct impact on our brain's limbic system straight affects the ability to learn and retain information.
Placing emotional connections into content being taught helps to lessen stress response in children and adults. When we merge emotion into content standards via stories, our own enthusiasm increases also that of our students.
First time in history of test-taking movement in education, closely involved. The brain is social organ, and within context of relationships and felt connections, we study through brain-compatible strategies of queries, consultation, indications, story-telling and modelling.
Six Brain-Compatible Strategies
Connections and relationships developed among students and educators are game changers for educational success. What can we perform when re-examine and re-teaching to arrange our students emotionally? How can we encourage the environment where imaginative thinking, self-efficacy and problem solving are brought to life?
We can connect the students by assisting them see their own knowledge in so many areas within their own cultures and lives. Share with students that these tests are significant, but they don’t describe their personhood or intelligence.
We can support and observe every little effort or action which is optimistic, no matter how unimportant. Prepare a sheet for positive, on-target behaviours which you observe in each student, and send it home every day during weeks of test prep and testing.
Share the anxieties and stories which ask understanding, permitting students know that you are not alone in the thinking and feelings. This strategy is very effectual when dialogue is courteous and unbiased with respect to tone and disposition. For instance, you can say, "I know how anxious you should have felt before first part of test yesterday, as I remember taking college entrance test, and my hands were so sweaty I could barely grip pencil."
We can merge the experienced material into stories where we make circumstance and patterns, as our brains are wired for storytelling. For instance, if I am teaching influential writing passages, I can make my own passage in the area of student interest, and model story of how I came up with topic. Or you can compare topic sentence to boss of the company such as Hershey, during equating details of paragraph in story to employees in chocolate factory.
We can acquire brain breaks, pulling up casual and equally inclusive class negotiations for few minutes on admired topic, or read the story of interest together. We can get up and move, exercise some deep breaths, or listen in to music for five minutes.
We can support the students to write out their sorrows or doubts on small sheets of paper to be tossed in the basket before assignment or test. Study reports that when we write out any worry or concern previous to the test, we make space and cognitive capacity in working memory.
Keep in mind, emotions are infectious, and how we feel at any given moment can be subconsciously mirrored by our students. Be aware of your moods and feelings, and of how these directly impact the dispositions and overall enthusiasm of the students. We are connected to model behaviours even subconsciously, and with consciousness, we can move our viewpoint, our emotions and our behaviours.