X is for Anxiety MP

| April 30, 2014

I think it’s incredible how we have been conditioned to have so much anxiety about education. I’m not saying that education isn’t important because I believe it’s extremely important but the pressure that has become associated with educational success in  the form of grades and assessments has reached an absurd level I think. A perfect example of this is what happened yesterday in our class. A lot of people had some questions and concerns about how this whole primer thing is going to be wrapped up (which we still haven’t really resolved), but from the beginning and throughout the semester we have all been told many times that the outcome is not necessarily important. Yet the anxiety that filled the room yesterday over what exactly needed to be done to make sure it was all correctly accounted for so that it could then be assessed and graded was astronomical. I don’t mean to say that there is anything wrong with this or that I don’t understand where people are coming from, I just find it fascinating that people have so much trouble letting go of this classic educational mentality over the end of the semester, the final project, the grade for the class.

Here’s Wikipedia definition of anxiety:Anxiety is an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behavior, such as pacing back and forth, somatic complaints and rumination.[2]It is the subjectively unpleasant feelings of dread over something unlikely to happen, such as the feeling of imminent death.[3] Anxiety is not the same asfear, which is felt about something realistically intimidating or dangerous and is an appropriate response to a perceived threat;[4] anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, and uneasiness, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as menacing.[5] It is often accompanied by restlessness, fatigue, problems in concentration, and muscular tension. Anxiety is not considered to be a normal reaction to a perceived stressor although many feel it occasionally.

I always find it interesting the way we describe certain things that are actually very difficult to express in words. We all know what anxiety is and what it feels like but trying to describe it in a way so that let’s say someone who didn’t know what it was could understand is so weird. I feel like the definition should read, Anxiety: Anxiety.

I think that this is actually a real issue with the educational system at large. Students get so bogged down by this assessment and that grade and finals and this and that that where is there any room left for them to actually learn anything. I think that if there were more smaller assessments built into the daily flow of the semester by the end you would have a clear picture of where a student is at, and if they learned what was being taught, and then you can give them a grade. This is essentially what we did in this class, two posts a week and then by the end you have a whole portfolio of work, and yet many people are still freaking out about it. So I don’t really know what the answer should be but it’s definitely something that needs to be examined and revamped.