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Tutoring Students with Anxiety

Home tuition has become an important part of education for the past few years, making home tutors vital in a child’s education as supplementary support aside from what they learn in schools. As a home tutor, they are not only in charge of enriching the child’s knowledge but also help them in developing the skills they are taught in classrooms as well as helping them overcome the struggles they are facing with their weak areas.

Private tuition isn’t only exclusive for students who are struggling. There are also quite capable students who engage in home tutors to enrich their knowledge as well as the students who suffer from anxiety. These students, with the help of their home tutors, can gain more after classes in the comforts of their own homes. With this, they can build up their academic strengths as well as their emotional strengths. Aside from academics, private tuition also offers them the development of other soft skills that they can use in the future outside of the academe. As such, with the more open and approachable environment of their home, they can also develop their self-esteem as well as a mastery of other subjects.

However, anxiety is a serious matter and shouldn’t be taken lightly. There needs to be a right structure in home tuition for it to be effective for students who are suffering from anxiety. With the proper structure and right home tutor, students with anxiety can attend schools and learn with the other students. There are many ways to address students who have anxiety and how to proceed with tutoring them.

How anxiety can hinder learning

Fear and anxiety can affect a child’s development and learning more than people probably realize. The effect of anxiety on a growing mind is also more serious than most people think. These children also don’t often “unlearn” their fears even when they grow up and this means that the same fears and worries they have experienced in childhood can also be the same fears they can bring with them well into adulthood when not properly dealt with.

As such, children with prolonged anxiety can also lose their cognitive ability to tell the difference between a safe and threatening environment through time. When anxiety is left as is, this can have lasting effects on children especially those who have experienced trauma, physical and emotional abuse as well as emotional experiences.

Reduces learning capacity

There are many ways wherein anxiety can be shown to reduce the learning capacity of students. A lot of learning disorders can often be accompanied by anxiety and some even stem from anxiety itself. As such, since some disorders go with anxiety, they can also often go undiagnosed as they are mistaken to relate to the student’s anxiety and can be left untreated and unsolved. Here are some scenarios:

  • A child can become increasingly frustrated when they are completing the exercises given to them and they can also show signs of low motivation in completing these exercises and assignments.
  • A child can have a deep-rooted fear of social humiliation from their peers. They are afraid of being ridiculed by their classmates when they ask for clarification or questions from their teacher, which then prevents them from asking these questions.
  • A child may not be willing to ask their parent, teacher, or any adult for help when they are struggling.
  • A child may be restless and proceed with their activities and tasks in an unorganized manner. They can also show signs of easily losing their focus and concentration on the task at hand.

It’s important to understand that a child may not reach their true potential when they are being hindered by feelings of anxiety. With anxiety, the child may stop themselves from performing their best or reaching their highest attainment without even getting there because of their fear.

Red flags to look out for

It goes without saying that it takes a professional to properly diagnose a child’s condition. Though some home tutors are trained in dealing with special cases of students such as those with learning disabilities, it’s still important to lean to professionals, especially with matters like anxiety.

However, it doesn’t mean that tutors also have their hands tied when it comes to students who are suffering from anxiety. As tutors can get to know their students more during their time together, they can also begin to notice some symptoms that they can open for discussion with the parents in order to open up if they may need professionals to properly diagnose the child.

• Physical complaints

Some students who suffer from anxiety first start with somatic complaints that range from headaches, stomachaches, nausea, heart palpitations, light-headedness, and other physical symptoms with no underlying medical condition that can cause these symptoms. Students such as may even try to cancel tuition because of these complaints or ask to be excused in the middle of the sessions.

• Distorted cognition

Students who have anxiety mostly have the “all-or-nothing” mindset. They can be so focused on perfectionism or their fear of failure. Some students constantly worry causing them to also constantly reach out to their teachers or tutors and ask for frequent reassurance with regards to their performance. Some students also have the “catastrophic” way of thinking in which they think that a single mistake can cause big problems that can directly affect their futures.

• Avoidance behavior

Students who have anxiety have the very observable trait of avoiding as much interaction as they can. They mostly avoid reciting in class or participating in collaborative activities. In tuition, they may refuse to take a test given by their tutor or avoid asking questions and clarifications from their tutor. Some students may even completely shut down during home tuition sessions.

What can tutors do

As tutors are not professionals to treat anxiety, the best they can do for their students is to help in supporting them while they get help with their anxiety. It’s not an easy job to tutor a student with anxiety however, we have gathered some ways to make teaching them more manageable as well as provide the comfort they need.

1. Be patient with them

Students with anxiety need all the patience from people around them. They will be working through their anxiety so it’s best for their tutors to also provide them the patience and support they need. If the tutor show patience to their student, especially in times when they need it the most, they will be able to calm down more and become more cooperative in the tasks they are supposed to do.

Remember that they are suffering from anxiety already. Any form of pressure towards them can affect them negatively and will not help at all in solving the issue. It may only serve to heighten their anxiety and may be counterproductive for whatever tasks and activities the tutor wants them to complete.

2. Lend an ear to their worries

Home tuition greatly values communication between student and their tutor. The same can be expected and more so, with students who are suffering from anxiety. Tutors should allow and encourage their students to talk about their worries and fears freely. Listening to the student enables the tutor to fully grasp what the student is going through as well as what they are thinking. Let the student speak for themselves and express what they are experiencing.

As such, it’s also important for tutors to ask thought-provoking or open-ended questions to their students. These types of questions can help the student avoid the feeling of giving out the right answers and instead they will be able to formulate their own using their own way of thinking. Additionally, listening to students can also be one form to show support towards them.

3. Use positive speech

Tutors should use more positive speech and give positive feedback to students who have anxiety. Of course, tutors make it to a point to provide positive feedback for their students but those with anxiety may need it more. Positive reinforcement provides great support for students as they may also realize their development and progress through positive affirmations. Their efforts are seen and as such, they may start to develop confidence in themselves.

Praises also help students especially when they are faced with the triggers of their anxiety. This may encourage them to work harder at being more comfortable and calmer with stressful situations. However, tutors should also consider if the child is comfortable with receiving praises in public. Sometimes, they may prefer praises given to them in private as public forms of praises may also make them feel uncomfortable and may even trigger their anxiety.

Conclusion

Private tuition for students with anxiety can be challenging for tutors but at the same time, it can also be a fulfilling experience. Students who have anxiety may need private home tuition more to help them with socializing and believing in their skills and talents. Most students with anxiety have problems with their self-esteem and with the help of their tutors and families, they can be encouraged more to believe in themselves and their own progress. As such, as they receive tuition, they may also start to become more comfortable with social environments such as classrooms. With the right structure of home tuition, home tutors can ensure that they are effectively helping their students improve not just academically but also with dealing with their anxiety problems.

Carelle

Carelle

Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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If you need an excellent home tutor, feel free to call/WhatsApp us at +65 8777-2168! Our matching service is free!

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