is more than just uncomfortable, it's dangerous to
the mind and body. In addition to increasing health
problems, chronic stress causes problems with our
memory systems, blood pressure, problem solving skills,
and thought processes in that decision-making region
of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex.
some teachers feel stress is an inevitable part of
the education process, research shows that stress,
past a moderate level, can actually undermine the
learning process. Stress in the classroom or elsewhere,
raises dopamine activity in the prefrontal cortex.
This increased dopamine activity (DA) has been linked
to disruptions in
working memory. High DA causes the brain to shift
to an "escapte from threat" mode. It then
reduces a person's desire to explore new ideas and
creatively solve problems. While students under stress
will work "harder", the quality of the work decreases.
The higher the stress, the worse the results. Short
term memory is crippled, the student has a difficult
time retrieving previous information from memory and
decision making ability decreases.
we wouldn't want to remove all stress from life, as
a small amount can help keep arousal levels
high enough to complete a task. But large amounts,
particularly when the stress causes accompanying feelings
of fear and anxiety, are dangerous and work against
the learning process.
careful in the classroom. A little excitement and
encouragement built on a strong foundation of trust
and care can help build enthusiasm for doing well.
An environment perceived as intimidating, frightening
and overwhelming can shut the learning process down.
while visiting a graphic design class, I saw a poster
on the door to the special effects lab that read "don't
make a garlic sandwich". I love that thought. It helps
remind us that some things are only good in very small
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Eamonn; Godaert, Guido, (2000, Aug) Chronic stress affects
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Darryl B. (2012, Oct) "Dose-dependent effects of
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Morrow, Bret A.; Roth,
Robert H.; Elsworth, John D, (2000, Aug) TMT, a predator
odor, elevates mesoprefrontal dopamine metabolic activity
and disrupts short-term working memory in the rat.,
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Tohill, Jean M.; Holyoak,
Keith J, (2000, Feb) The impact of anxiety on analogical
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Tuinstra, T.; Verheij,
M.; Willemen, A.; Iking, J.; Heeren, D. J.; Cools, A.
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