How Do Students With School Anxiety View School?
How do students feel about school? This essential question helps us understand students’ attitudes toward learning. If they see it in a positive light, they’ll be self-motivated to work hard. It will also be easier to teach them. In contrast, negative feelings are associated with ineffective learning and a rejection of school.
Different studies show us alarming data about students’ rejection of school. Some research shows that between 28 and 35 percent of students don’t want to go to class. These statistics show us how serious the situation is and that we need to solve this problem since motivation is essential in the learning process.
This is even more worrisome if we assume that most of us, including children, have an innate motivation for acquiring knowledge and for self-realization. School is an institution that, in principle, should be destined to meet this need. However, this isn’t the case, which leads us to conclude that there must be certain factors that negatively influence students’ perception of school.
Why some students reject school
School anxiety represents the central factor that largely explains students’ rejection of school. Going to school produces a high degree of stress in students, which triggers an avoidance response. This happens when the body feels that the anxiety perceived by going to school is more important than the gratification we get from learning and the self-realization we may feel when going to class. We must keep in mind that negative and short-term aspects (such as school anxiety) have greater strength than long-term positive stimuli (such as self-actualization resulting from going to school).
Why do students suffer from school anxiety? To analyze this issue, it’s best to change our perspective. We must put ourselves in the shoes of a child who goes to class. If we do this, we’ll immediately realize that they have an overly long schedule, high performance pressure, dull classes, and little motivation.
“School anxiety is one of the main reasons why some students reject school.”
Children get up every morning from Monday to Friday to be in class for 6 to 8 hours. In addition to this, they must complete a series of school tasks every day when they get home. This takes another 2 to 4 hours. And if they want to pass their exams, they’ll have to study for about an hour a day.
If we add it all up, we get approximately 50 to 65 hours per week, much longer than a legal workweek. In addition, many parents occupy the rest of their children’s time with extracurricular activities. This results in great anxiety due to the fact they have no free time. In turn, this causes a rejection of school and everything it represents. School isn’t interesting to them, no matter how much it may be related to their knowledge. Free time is essential to any child.
High performance pressure leads to school anxiety
Our educational system uses an evaluation system that usually provides reports in the form of letters or numbers associated with school performance. This is a highly competitive system. Those who have good grades are praised, while those with bad grades are reprimanded.
In addition, we have a strong tendency to attribute these failures or successes to the student alone. In fact, teachers are responsible for their students.
This situation causes tension in students. They feel pressured to get the best grades in the class. They forget that their ultimate goal is to learn, assimilate knowledge, and acquire the ability to seek out information and resources. Because of this, those students who don’t meet performance expectations are likely to feel anxious.
Imagine a school that, instead of pressuring students to pass exams, focuses on their shortcomings and strengthens their strengths. It’s easy to imagine that the anxiety related to performance would disappear. They wouldn’t have to comply with high standards and would no longer see evaluations or tests as threats.
Classes based on passive learning
This factor doesn’t directly influence school anxiety, but it indirectly encourages students to reject school. If the classes aren’t exciting and interesting enough, they’ll be less motivated to learn. This means that, faced with a minimum level of anxiety, any student’s desire to learn will disappear.
During classes, teachers usually give lectures and the students must memorize the information without questioning anything. In fact, many times reflection is frowned upon. The students learn superficially. This type of learning is really boring and not very motivating. It’s not really different from other tasks such as memorizing a list of numbers.
For students to feel motivated to learn, the new knowledge must be relevant to them. That’s achieved through active learning. We should encourage them to explore intuitive theories in order to see reality in a new way. A good educational system is one that doesn’t make students anxious. Since we can’t force them to learn, self-realization has to be that intrinsic motivation that edges them on.