Thursday, August 16, 2012

8 Ways to Reduce Stress at Work (or at School)

Stressed employees dread coming into the office each day. These workers are often distracted and produce substandard work. Workers can use several strategies to reduce their stress levels and work more effectively. So begins Eric Thompson in his blog post "8 Ways to Reduce Stress at Work" on officespaceforrent.org--a worthwhile read.

Most of us can probably relate to this regarding work, but with a few minor modifications it would fit in school as well and look something like this:

Stressed students dread coming to school each day. These students are often distracted and produce substandard work. Teachers can use several strategies to help reduce student stress levels and help them learn more effectively.

Brain research is telling us that this is true from a physiological standpoint: students cannot learn when they are stressed out--it's just not possible. So the solution is to take the time to help relieve student stress so they can be ready to learn.

Here are some of the suggestions that Thompson posits with my comments in brackets and underneath:
Take a Walk/Frequent Stretch Sessions
Students learn better on their feet than in their seat, so it's imperative to incorporate movement into the class time.
Invest in a Stress Toy
Some students do well if they have a stress ball at their desks or are allowed to doodle.

Cubicle [Classroom] Decorations
Classroom decorations that speak to the students are important. Try getting away from inspirational posters and other things that mean nothing to students. Instead let them have a say in what goes on the walls and better yet let them make it.

Meditate [Mindfulness]
I'm convinced that mindfulness has a prominent place in our classrooms and should be taught the same as English and Math. It helps to open the students up to learn what they need.

Develop Friendships
Taking the time to foster relationships between peers in your classroom is time well spent and will pay huge dividends as the year progresses.

Use Music to Reduce Stress
Many students have reflected on how much the music I play in class helps them relieve stress and concentrate. Let's face it, most of our students play music while they study anyway, so is quiet the right mode for them to learn in? I frequently allow students to listen to their iPods when it's appropriate-the concentration level goes way up. And with apps like Spotify and Pandora, you can stream the music you want into your classroom and really change the dynamic. 


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