Sunday 22 September 2019

Teachers warned on students' exam stress

Stock picture
Stock picture
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Teachers have been urged to review their methods in the wake of a report that found 73pc of secondary school students are stressed out about exams.

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone made the remarks at the launch of a report entitled 'So How Was School Today', which was based on a survey of 3,200 young people.

Education Minister Richard Bruton said the study showed areas where "we need to do better" and said there were messages for his own department as well as for teachers.

He also said he was "concerned" at the higher stress levels among girls, adding: "We have to tease through these findings to see what we can do to relieve that."

Ms Zappone said that among the positives in the report were that young people felt respected by their teachers.

But she also said it's "really important, particularly in key subjects like Irish and maths and English, that teachers review their teaching methodologies".

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Children's Minister Katherine Zappone. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Speaking as a former teacher, she said it was important to "place yourselves in the shoes of the students themselves". She said project-based assignments, debates and quizzes should be considered.

The survey found girls were less positive about their experience of school than boys, and girl-only schools had higher levels of exam-related stress. Overall, 79pc of girls reported being very stressed or quite stressed when it came to exams, compared to 67pc of boys.

Girls were also found to feel more under pressure when it came to homework, over what they wanted to do when they finished school, and in terms of pressure to complete difficult tasks.

Mr Bruton said that the report would be reviewed as the yearly action plan for education was developed to address issues it raised. He said measures had already been taken with the reform of the Junior Cert curriculum, an increase in the number of career guidance counsellors, and the introduction of well-being programmes in schools.

Irish Independent

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