Top 3 Key-Points to Help ESL Learners Cope-Up With Stress
Stress is a feeling that produces excellent worry caused by difficult situations. As people experience these quite often in life, it is essential to have the necessary power to cope. Stress occurs in various spheres of life, such as the personal, professional, and educational ones. Every beginning is challenging, and it brings anxiety and tension because people do not know what to expect from that new event. Considering this issue, it is vital to learn how to manage our well-being to feel comfortable with ourselves, stay healthy, happy, and transmit this positive state to the people surrounding us. In the context of the EFL education and classroom environment, one has to be aware that students who want to learn English come from different backgrounds and cultures; possess diverse characters forming themselves a set of values to follow in life. This concept is acceptable and valid for all humanity. Students do have distinct learning styles and learning difficulties as well due to their educational experience.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Eliza C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Factors Impacting Students' Stress Level
Some factors that generate stress to students when they learn English could be defined as the following: at the start of a course, the idea of meeting new people can frighten the EFL learners, mainly if they are not used to this thing. They have to settle in that environment and interact with their classmates quite frequently during a course, which may also be challenging. The other elements regarding this issue could be taking tests at specific periods, the students' insufficient command of the target language, the fear of making mistakes, not understanding specific language points, the inability to express their thoughts adequately, and the fear of being criticized by other people or not being socially accepted in an EFL medium.
1. Teacher's Attitude
The teacher's role is crucial when dealing with these obstacles as he/she has to adopt a professional attitude using the most valuable strategies to ameliorate these important facets and convert them into constructive ideas. Teaching not only implies managing learning but also managing relationships between students as teachers embrace the psychological aspect among people. If teachers can control their own emotions and well-being, they will maintain their learning and emotions. Teacher's feelings are significant because they are communicated to students to a certain extent. Despite the teacher's problems, every English lesson always has to be initiated with a smile, good mood, optimism, and positiveness as these states will automatically be instilled in students to the rest of it.
2. Classroom Environment
The other solution is to create a relaxed, safe, and friendly learning environment through "decorating" the classroom with different quotes and pleasant objects that motivate them to study. Moreover, it is essential to assign as many exciting and fun activities as possible to perform them in pairs, groups, or teams but every time in diverse layouts. This aspect dramatically favors the interaction between the EFL learners. They discover more about each other, they gradually get closer to one another and can finally become friends. Students have to be encouraged to participate actively in activities, providing them with the necessary means for that and supporting their efforts to achieve the aim of the tasks. Teachers have to set a specific time for planning, preparation, and practice as in the confidence-building stage. The appropriate planning time empowers students to familiarize themselves with their thoughts and intentions, which contributes to the achievement of success.
3. Equal Approach
Concerning the attitude of the teacher, it has to be fair and consistent towards students. This means to treat all the learners equally during the lessons and not to have favorites. It is also essential to address them adequately and to proceed professionally in different stressful situations that might appear. For example, when students do not understand some of the words or tasks they have to do. The other meaningful moment is to offer feedback after performing certain activities, praise them for their striving made throughout the lessons to accomplish the successful acquisition of the language point, and encourage them to practice more. Giving feedback after the completion of the activity also makes students aware of its result and purpose. Regarding classroom mistakes, teachers have to make students understand that they are part of the learning process and it is natural for them to arise. Making mistakes contributes to a better comprehension of the subject matter and a higher perception of its usage.
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As has been noted, the basic idea is that studying English should produce pleasure and bring joy to students. Stress cannot be avoided in the classroom, but an alternative for teachers is trying to do their best to cope with it effectively. Students must not permit stress to overwhelm and dominate their personalities. It is fundamental to understand that for every problem, there is a solution. As shown above, the teacher's mood that he/she enters the classroom with is significant for the entire lesson. The teacher also has to manifest optimism, enthusiasm, confidence, and motivation to inspire students' qualities. The other side of the issue is the encouragement and support from the language instructors to study English and to overcome gradually the linguistic difficulties that might appear. Objective feedback is also beneficial after fulfilling various tasks and activities. Nobody is offended—praising students' efforts during the course makes them gradually overcome stress, become self-confident, and motivated to continue learning, and, therefore, definitely more successful fulfillment the English language in a pleasant and friendly atmosphere.
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