How teachers work with students to reduce stress

The data consistently show that students are struggling with high levels of stress and other mental health problems and that many turn to their teachers for support during these struggles. A new report in Australian Journal for Education (AJE) examines how teachers deal with student wellbeing and academic stress to fuel learning.

The paper, The role of teachers in alleviating student stress in order to drive learning, outlines the strategies teachers use to respond to key student pressures in order to advance their learning. The results suggest that the well-being of students takes precedence over academic agendas.

“While the role of high quality teaching in student learning is well established in literature, it is not yet clear how teachers alleviate increasing student stress in order to maintain and promote student learning,” write the researchers in the paper.

The researchers interviewed 22 educators (10 elementary school teachers, 10 secondary school teachers, and two subject teachers) to gain insight into their perspectives and experiences. In particular, educators were asked to share how they deal with the student’s needs in terms of wellbeing and academic performance, what support structures are available in their school context, and what causes the student’s stress levels.

“Teachers proactively looked for ways to create time and space (mental and physical) for their students, be it by cushioning the pressures of a crowded curriculum and data-driven exam cultures, finding physical opportunities for stressed and traumatized students, or creating mental breaks.” and mindful time for overwhelmed students, ”write the researchers.

The interviews revealed three main themes: pressures and pressures that students bring to school; academic pressures and stress in school; and the role of teachers as mitigators and facilitators.

Each theme has also been broken down into specific elements. For example, parents’ expectations have been found to be one of the pressures and pressures students bring to school; Assessment was found to be a major element of academic pressures and stresses in school; and the use of storytelling and perspective teaching was a key strategy teachers used to ease student stress and facilitate learning.

Interviewee quotes on each of these elements are shared in the report, and from this interview data the researchers concluded, “Teachers actively reduce student stress in order to progress and convey their learning. In this way the teachers feel the pressures of stress and pressure and the motivation to see the students studying ”.

Based on these conclusions, the researchers recommend that strategies used by teachers to reduce student stress and learning progress – in particular, the use of storytelling and perspective teaching – should be a priority in teacher education and professional development for staff. There is also an opportunity to write them to do further research on storytelling and perspective giving as educational tools.


Willis A., Grainger, P., Menzies, S., Dwyer, R., Simon, S., Thiele, C. (2020). The role of teachers in relieving stress in students in order to propel learning. Australian magazine for education.

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