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 it can actually undermine the learning
process. Stress in the classroom or elsewhere, releases a
chemical called TMT* into the brain. TMT disrupts working
memory and 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.
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
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 quantities.