Anxiety “is an unpleasant state of mental uneasiness, nervousness, fear and obsession/concern about some uncertain event” (Merriam-Webster). Anxiety is of many types but for the sake of our article; let us concern ourselves with only academic anxiety. Academic anxiety connotes to “impending danger from environments of academic institutions including teacher, subject, principal, peers, fear of failure etc.”
Now one of the leading causes of academic anxiety has been revealed as the study habits of the student. “Studying can be defined as revision of materials already learned in order to make sure one does not forget them, usually in the preparation for an examination”. Thereby an effective habit which aids in the process of studying is a good study habit.
The Science behind study habits and academic anxiety:
(This study had been conducted by me)
In an independent study which studied the impact of study habits and academic anxiety among 100 (50 male and 50 female) high school students aged 13-15 it was found that the correlation was -0.601, which is quite significant. The negative symbol in the result indicates an inverse relationship (with increase in one variable there will be a decrease in the other variable) in the two variables namely, study habits and academic anxiety.
The Study Habits Inventory by Dr.B.V. Patel was used for acquiring knowledge of the students study habits and the Academic Anxiety Scale for Children (AASC) by Dr. A.K.Singh and Dr. A. Sen Gupta was used to gauge their academic anxiety levels.
Dr.B.V.Patel in his Study Habits Inventory has stated 7 domains which are effective milestones to hone performance enhancing study habits which have further been divided by me under different headings for the sake of breaking down roles.
HOME IS WHERE IT ALL STARTS:
- Home environment and planning of work
- General habits and attitudes
Nurturing general good habits such as positive attitude by parents towards education and school, respect for teachers, increasing parental role in schoolwork and projects, doing a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis and seeking professional guidance to enable calm and study-conducive home environment and provide support to the child is highly recommended to enhance study habits. Also paraphrasing negative criticism so as to be encouraging is the need of the hour. Shortcomings in these two domains are often found to be the foundation of bad academic performance and increased academic anxiety levels.
SCHOOL IS WHERE IT ALL CULMINATES:
- Habits of concentration
- Preparation for examination
- School environment
Ensuring a student friendly school environment such as having approachable teachers, mentoring and individualized attention provision is the paramount responsibility of the school. The school should also aim to provide proactive relaxation techniques which aid in concentration development such as yoga, meditation, mental games for mnemonic enhancement etc. Students should also be provided with a home-timetable to follow during holidays before examination. These domains when fulfilled by the school have been proven to enhance performance and decrease anxiety.
IT’S ALL DOWN TO YOU:
- Effectively planning time devotion for each subject
- Make effective notes to enable quick revision and maximum retention
Now that the student has gained an insight into his/her respective factors that enhance academic performance, just by performing the afore-mentioned steps s/he will benefit a lot and have a much less anxiety level.
Therefore on a final note, decreasing academic anxiety and stress is a three-pronged process involving the parents and the school as well as the student. With the steep increase in adolescent and childhood stress and anxiety it is of paramount importance to tackle the issue and enhance performance so as to enable optimum levels of achievement and well-being.
I design workshops for high school students aged 13-18 to help them identify their skills, set appropriate/ realistic goals and achieve them without feeling anxious/depressed.
This article has made an appearance in the July issue of the monthly “Shodh Bodh”