In our society, and especially in Silicon Valley, one concerning topic we hear over and over is stress in our children. One of the primary sources of this stress is the pressure to get good grades. In today’s competitive educational environment, students are often expected to achieve high grades in order to get into the best colleges and universities. Not addressing this elephant in the room could have disastrous effects on our children and families.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. For adolescents, depression, substance use and suicide are important concerns. Among adolescents aged 12-17 years in 2018-2019 reporting on the past year:
- 15.1% had a major depressive episode.
- 36.7% had persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
- 18.8% seriously considered attempting suicide.
Another major factor contributing to this rising stress is the constant pressure to perform. From standardized testing to college applications, students are constantly being judged and compared to their peers. This pressure can lead to a fear of failure and a constant need to prove oneself.
This rising stress in learning environments can have serious consequences. It can lead to anxiety and depression, as well as physical health issues such as poor quality of sleep, headaches and stomach problems. It can also impact students’ relationships and their overall well-being.
So what can be done?
One solution is to implement more flexible and personalized learning approaches, allowing students to learn at their own pace and in their own way (but with clear goals and benchmarks). Another solution is to focus on the overall quality of education. Rather than strictly utilizing one dimensional metrics like grades and test scores, mastery can be proven in a modern approach of presentations, portfolios, projects, or smaller, more frequent quizzes. This can involve promoting a more holistic approach to education, emphasizing creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration over rote memorization.
For one, schools and parents need to work together to create a more balanced and supportive educational environment. Placing the emphasis on effort and growth- rather than results and comparison, can truly set our children up for arguably the most important tool to success in life- one’s mindset.
Would reducing stress in academics improve or reduce a child’s performance? Can we reduce the unnecessary stressors (ie- competition and grades) that are created in school without sacrificing a child’s motivation to learn? Can our outlook towards failure be shifted towards an opportunity to learn, instead of judgement and demoralization? Can children learn to identify and manage stress from a young age with the help of their school?
This is where Tej Acton Academy paves the way for the future of education.
At Tej Acton Academy, we understand the importance of addressing stress and finding solutions that support our students’ well-being and academic growth. Here are some of the ways we approach stress and education at our school:
- Prioritizing student well-being: At Tej Acton Academy, we believe that student well-being is a crucial aspect of their education. We prioritize creating a supportive and nurturing environment where students can feel safe and comfortable to express themselves and their emotions.
- Encouraging self-care: We encourage students to prioritize self-care and develop healthy habits that support their well-being. This can include activities like exercise, meditation, and practicing mindfulness.
- Flexible learning environments: At Tej Acton Academy, we offer a personalized and flexible learning environment that allows students to learn at their own pace and in a way that works best for them. This can improve their ability to learn and retain information while avoiding the stress that can come with a one-size-fits-all curriculum.
- Encouraging open communication: Continuous opportunities for open and honest communication between students, teachers, and parents. This allows us to gauge academic growth and address stressors and provide support and guidance to help students manage their stress and still succeed in school.
At Tej Acton Academy, we believe that education should be about more than just grades and test scores. We strive to create a supportive and nurturing environment where students can learn, grow, and thrive without feeling overwhelmed by stress. By providing personalized support, flexible schedules, and mindfulness practices, we are equipping our students for success both academically and emotionally.