Anxiety can be described as a feeling of nervousness and apprehension on a certain event because of lack of assurance of its outcomes. This kind of feeling can be an adjunct to some psychological symptoms, which may include muscular tension, increased perspiration, and rapid heartbeat. Anxiety is similar to fear in that both feelings experience high levels of stimulation. The two feelings are however different in that fear is certain while anxiety is uncertain. It is not easy to determine the reason for anxiety, hence posing challenges when dealing with it.
Anxiety poses some effects on the learning processes and subsequent performances of learners. These effects can be both positive and negative as far as the learning processes and the performance are concerned. Anxiety can occur in different levels among learners, and these levels determine the eventual effects on the learners. For instance, if the a high level of anxiety is experienced by a learner then there will be great effects in the performance of the learner, whether positive or negative as compared to a learner who experienced low levels of anxiety (Ormrod, 2012). In order to deal with anxiety among learners, different strategies have been adopted. These strategies aid in keeping anxiety in learners at productive levels for effective learning processes and good performance. The effects of the level of anxiety on learners on their learning and performance, strategies that can be adopted to enhance productive levels of anxiety are discussed below.
Ways in which the level of anxiety in learners can affect their learning and performance
Test anxiety can have several effects on the performance of learners. One of the effects is nervousness that includes experiencing difficulties on the part of the students when reading examination questions and understanding them. It also involves experiencing complexity when organizing the learner’s thoughts and experiencing difficulties when regaining key concepts and keywords when answering questions. Test anxiety may at most times lead to poor performance in an exam despite the fact that the learner is familiar with the questions.
Another effect associated with test anxiety is mental blocking. This entails going blank of the individual on the questions and remembering the right answers shortly after the end of the exam. Test anxiety finally causes worries. These worries include performance worry, the worry on how others may be performing, and worry about the negative consequences after failing the exam.
The negative experience of anxiety in the process of preparation for a test or even during the actual test is often disadvantageous, but it can at times be beneficial in case it is not extreme. This idea generates two anxiety principles. The first principle is facilitating anxiety, which can also be perceived as a minimal amount of anxiety, or an optimal amount of anxiety. This kind of anxiety can activate people or individuals to respond quickly and more efficiently (Ormrod, 2012). Facilitating anxiety inspires learners to fight new learning tasks and enables them to put more effort in trying to overcome their anxiety feelings. This is however experienced in cases of simple learning tasks. On the other hand, debilitating anxiety refers to anxiety that is in excess. This type of anxiety may promote poor response and it may at times hinder the response. This type of anxiety may have devastating effects e.g. it may cause the learners to flee the learning task in an attempt to evade the cause of anxiety.
Strategies for ensuring productive anxiety levels
Learners can bound anxiety effects by learning more about themselves and through discovering the impacts that anxiety can have on their lives. This can be made possible through a study of anxiety and its effects, and by observing and keeping a diary on emerging patterns for a period of time. For instance most students conduct slf-monitoring and end up discovering that they have high and low times. They hence plan to effectively use the high time and accept reduced productivity in the periods of low times (Buchler, 2013).
Panic and anxiety at times get in the ways of study programs. When this happens people are not able to complete their work on time. This calls for negotiations for extensions on the time advanced for the completion of assignments. It may also lead to learners enrolling in lighter courses, or even take more time to complete their studies. It is important to reach a goal, no matter how fast it would take to achieve the goal and hence it is important for learners to set realistic goals.
Stress is common to all humans in life. It is particularly common when main assessments owe. Anxiety increases with increase in stress, and, therefore there is a need to manage stress, which will in turn reduce anxiety. Stress can be managed by balancing work, study and recreation, regular exercises, observing diet, resolving any conflicts and especially personal ones, and learning to manage personal crises (Buchler, 2013).
Anxiety can be advantageous or detrimental in the learning and performance of different people, but most importantly the level of anxiety in individuals determines the effects. For instance, some low level of anxiety e.g. facilitating anxiety is important as it generates positive effects as opposed to high level of anxiety e.g. debilitating anxiety that generates negative effects. Due to the negative effects of anxiety, strategies have been developed to help people in maintaining anxiety at productive levels. Some of these strategies include managing stress, setting goals that are realistic, and acquiring self-knowledge as discussed above. Combating anxiety is important as it helps learners to have a better understanding as well as enabling them to perform well in their examinations.
Buchler, R. K. (2013). Anxiety-reducing strategies in the classroom.
Ormrod, J. E. (2012). Human learning. Boston: Pearson.