Should Anxious Student Have to Perform?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by TeacherShelly, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Jul 6, 2007

    In fourth grade, if the assignment requires all students to perform an interview with another student in front of the class, and for the class to offer feedback, should a really anxiety-prone student have to participate? This student also has asthma and his attacks happen more often when he's anxious.

    Would it be too much of an accommodation to allow him a 1:1 interview (not in front of the class) with a really easy-going classmate? Or should he be encouraged and pushed to work through his anxiety and meet the same requirements as his classmates?

    :confused:
     
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  3. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    Could you have him do the one on one and video tape it to be played for the class later?
     
  4. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    In the after school program I work at, we had the kids interview a partner, and make a speech. It went amazingly well, their peers offered constructive criticism and were not cruel.

    I say, genlty encourage the student to do it. Reassure him that he wil be given respect. Stand next to him perhaps? I think it's a good skill for kids to have, and no one is really adept at standing in front of a room and speaking. He will have to do difficult things throughout his life this is minor in comparison.
     
  5. patti2

    patti2 Cohort

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    social anxieties are hard!

    Two of my children had extreme social anxieties. I took both of them to therapy to learn how to deal with this. The FEAR behind both of them came from looking ridiculous in front of peers! even asked my son if he would read a book on tape and let the others listen and he was even afraid of them hearing him that way! It is a REAL phobia and not to be taken lightly as it does create physical symptoms of sick stomach, worry, etc. ....I have a fear of touching worms and I try to think how anxious I would feel if I had to pick one up....that is how they feel about speaking out....FEARFUL!

    I actually ended up putting them both on anti-anxiety meds for awhile and I could not BELIEVE the difference in them(this was three years apart). They slowly learned through therapy how to feel comfortable around others, but it took practice 1:1, pairs, small group, and finally whole group. they are both off of meds, out of therapy and doing fine now!

    I know kids need to learn to speak, but anxiety is real and horrible, find a comfy way to ease into it!
     
  6. MissMcCollum

    MissMcCollum Companion

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    There was a person in my teaching program at my University that was anxiety prone, but instead of dealing with it (mind you she's in her 20s in college) she would just cry for the professors until they didn't make her do it. It was a load of garbage; everyone had the same nervous feelings, but because we are adults, we have to learn to deal with them. I say work with him to ease anxiety and have him do it. Being a person who suffers from anxiety and takes medication to control it, I understand how mortifying it can be to do something out of your comfort zone, but in the end, he needs to work through it, and what better place than in a safe learning environment?
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    You said that the "assignment requires all students to perform an interview with another student in front of the class". So that would be my answer - all students must interview in front of the class. I would not be heartless at all, especially because I had a true fear of this, and to be honest still do to some degree, but I would work with the student and he or she would fulfill the requirements.

    When I was a student, if I was called to read aloud in class I panicked. My eyes fluttered and watered, which was so embarrassing and only increased the anxiety. So, as I said, I would be understanding and conference with the student, practice with him/her one on one, offer support, etc. But, in the end, all students need practice with this and no favors are being granted by allowing an exception.
     
  8. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    I'd think about changing the assignment. I don't believe in putting kids through real anxiety. I remember the anxiety of debating - I was good at it and always on the team, but I hated it, couldn't sleep the night before and was so nervous I felt sick. I would never force a kid through that, I don't think I learnt anything through having to do it.

    Can you change the assignment to accommodate multiple learning styles and needs?

    I wouldn't have special consideration for one student, but I would ensure that there were options that didn't disadvantage kids who truly can't manage a situation.
     
  9. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    One of our GLEs states that the kids must do class presentations. That means everyone. For those who get nervous about it, I work on helping htem understand that it's a small presentation, and I don't let them wait to be last, that's too much pressure, I get them up there in the middle (preferably after one that maybe wasn't so good!). I even had one little girl that had to do hers looking at the board instead of the class. I just made sure that the class rubric didn't have the line "Made eye contact".
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It seems to me that the problem then is with the rule. If it says everyone, then it seems to me that "everyone" must perform.

    I wonder if there's a way to play with the phrasing... change it from "in front of the class" to "in front of a group" or something. That might give you enough wiggle room for special circumstances such as this one-- the child could choose 4 or 5 classmates to count as the "group"
     
  11. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I would do everything I could to make them feel comfortable, but they would have to do it. There are too many public speaking requirements in school to let them slide now. It will be easier to get used to it in elementary than to get to high school or college and have to do it for the first time. Our state TEKS require public speaking too and it is a required class to graduate high school.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Off topic, I realize, but she was in a Teacher's Program?? And she was afraid to talk in front of a group?? How did that work out for her??
     
  13. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I used to be (and still am in some situations) very shy. I started making myself do presentations at teacher workshops and conferences. The first few were, to say the least, rough for everyone. Now, though, I love it. I bring in activities and lessons that I love and share them with other teachers in hopes of helping them bring in topics that they may not be comfortable in. It has led to many wonderful opportunities for me. From the NASA workshop to friendships with teachers all over the place.
     
  14. MissMcCollum

    MissMcCollum Companion

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    Well, she has yet to graduate, and I know that a lot of my professors resented her manipulation when it came to presentations and such. Needless to say, she didn't have a lot of good friends in the program. It irritated the heck out of me, and many others. She claimed that she was fine in front of kids, but it was hard to see that when she would just cry at the mention of a presentation. Very aggravating.
     
  15. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jul 7, 2007

    I had a child last year who didn't like to do presentations either. She was very quiet and shy. I started with her sharing from her seat before moving in front of the class.

    Before our 1st whole class presentation, I pulled her aside and told her to practice her report in front of the mirror, then in front of her family. Eventually, she did present in front of the class. I think only those sitting in front actually heard her!
     
  16. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Jul 7, 2007

    I'm wondering how this student fared in earlier grades, and how teachers handled the "problem." I had a Kinder this past year who responded very similarly to anything where she was "in the spotlight." I always took things slow with her, but it was aggravating to me too! :-D I tried to be sympathetic, but even Kinders have standards for speaking and sharing! For show and tell, for instance, I was up front with students anyway, helping them read their clues if necessary; for this student, I "talked her through it" as much as possible. She also spoke so quietly only the two students directly in front of her could hear. I mentioned this on progress reports and report cards, so that later teachers would know it was an issue.
     
  17. AngelM

    AngelM Rookie

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    Wow - this post really tugs at my heartstrings. Being a diagnosed anxiety sufferer myself, and also having a daughter who is anxiety prone, I can totally empathize with this child. Anxiety is so real and is not something you can just easily get over.

    I personally would do everything I could to ease this child into this project (especially with asthma involved!!). I think it's wonderful that you are thinking of this student and are not just forcing this assignment on him/her. I know we often feel that children need to learn to get use to getting up and speaking in front of others, that it's part of life. But that sort of thing is not everyone's "cup of tea" and, later in life, he/she may choose a route that doesn't require public speaking. Good luck!!!
     

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