Pupils take the higher stress and anxiety levels preceding exams
Dubai - Arabstoday
Most pupils take the higher stress and anxiety levels preceding exams as part of the routine but, for a small minority, the intense focus on exams drains the life out of their normally happy school life.
The latter group is pushed into the darkness of depression, leading to serious consequences which are very often directly linked to the weight of expectation from their families.
\"Exam stress mounts mainly due to parents who are extremely pushy,\" a senior educator at a Dubai school said. \"When the high hopes and ambitions of the parents do not match with the skills and calibre of the child, it turns disastrous,\" he said.
In the absence of counselling at school and family support to fall back on, such pressure could lead children into believing that drastic measures such as suicide are the escape route, he said.
As the Indian curriculum grade 12 results were announced on Monday, it triggered at least three suicides in India. According to Indian media reports, two of the teenagers a boy and a girl reportedly hanged themselves in separate incidents while another threw himself before a moving train. The incidents have raised concern among expatriate parents in the UAE, too.
So, must parents let children chart their own academic success? Last year, researchers at UK\'s Leicester and Leeds universities found otherwise parents who pushed their children to work hard at school scored better grades.
So then, where should the line be drawn?
Adel Kamal, an Egyptian father of three, said that he believes liberal parenting is the best approach.
\"My son, a seventh grader who attended a UK curriculum school, plays football the evening before his exam.
I don\'t see anything wrong with it.\"
It is better to monitor grades as part of a continuing assessment process rather than harrying children all the time, he said. \"Trust them.\"
If a parent is too overbearing, the result may be better grades but it could come at the risk of negatively impacting other qualities, Kamal said.
Ramesh Raman, from India, is the proud father of a fifth grader who was recently bestowed the Shaikh Hamdan Award for academic excellence. He said parental involvement in education is necessary but should be limited to offering the right guidance. \"We help our daughter prepare a weekly schedule which involves time for studies and extra-curricular activities.\"
A homemaker, Anita (name changed), is known to be a very hands-on parent among her friends. Her daily schedule is drawn up around the several classes her three children attend including religious lessons, a mathematics skills improvement programme, dance classes, private tuitions for two subjects, and swimming lessons. She tops this with regular school visits and interaction with teachers. \"I feel children would do their best if parents take the pain to nurture them.\"
She keeps tabs on the children\'s grades and resorts to what she calls mild punishments if she sees any shortcomings.
\"I find nothing wrong with it, because ultimately it is for their benefit,\" she added.
According to Professor C.F. Joseph, a motivational trainer who runs Born to Excel, the secret is to strike the right balance in parenting. \"Being too pushy or too liberal are equally disastrous.\"
Pushing too hard makes children fall flat on their face. If left to fend for themselves without reasonable guidance, they will be all too happy to get distracted by the internet, TV, mobile phones and the likes without knowing what is most important in their stage of life, he said.
Joseph says exams must not be looked upon by pupils as something that could destroy their lives, but only as a measuring scale that checks if they are ready for the next level in academics.
\"Not being fully prepared is one of the main reasons behind exam stress,\" he added.
From / Gulf News