The quick Q&A: How to support and challenge students with anxiety

It can be difficult to find the right balance of support and challenge for children with anxiety, but this teacher insists it can be done in Tes

What’s the problem? 

Trying to challenge children with moderate to severe anxiety within a mainstream class, without exacerbating their condition.

When you say challenge, what are we talking about here?

That’s the thing – it’s different from child to child. Some are anxious about completing tests; others really worry that their work won’t be completed in time, or won’t be good enough and a few react very badly when they make a mistake. Generally, they’re very fearful of speaking situations, too.

So they all fear being judged in some way, especially publicly?

Yes. They’re all deeply afraid that they’re “not good enough” and that everyone will find out. 

What if you supported these children in the same way that you would support a struggling reader in English?

Mmmm…I would probably allow extra time in writing activities and tests to ease up the pressure, throwing in a few words of encouragement along the way. Plus, there’s nothing to stop these children using help sheets and word banks, just as they build up self-confidence. But this still doesn’t solve the problem of how I encourage them to speak in class. 

Read more about anxiety and tips on supporting pupils suffering from it The quick Q&A: How to support and challenge students with anxiety

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