Students and Stress

Who ever imagined that stress would become linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide? Stress has always been a reoccurring issue in our lives here and there, and we have always found ways to deal with it. Even though we get used to a little bit of stress every once in a while but we did not expect chronic stress to actually lead to the death of humans. Now sStress isn’t always bad, a small dose of stress can help you feel motivated and accomplish daily challenges.

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In some particular situations, us humans actually need stress. For fight or flight, stress is a necessity. It makes the brain flood the body with cortisol which can give you a boost of energy that might just save your life. But while we get that boost of adrenaline, nonessential systems shut down to allow more energy for emergency functions. Digestion and immune systems shut down and peripheral vision and hearing are reduced. And during emotional stress that stays around for weeks or months, it can weaken the immune system and cause high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety and even heart disease. This is why people need to make an effort dealing with stress and not except that their stress will disappear. All they basically need to do is exercise. But can students really tolerate a certain amount of chronic stress?

The school systems of China, Finland and United StatesAmerica each deal with stress differently in instructive ways. All three of these options aren’t necessarily good, as with one country, China, the students stresses too much and spends theirhis or her days learning and not playing. In Finland, and the other other country the students don’t stress at all so they don’t become prepared for the future or if they move to another country. In the United States,And then the last country the students stress a decent amount so it is right in between the other two countries.

All kids have a maximum of stress that they can tolerate, it all depends on where they come from. The students that come from Finland experience from little to no stress at all. But the kids and teens from China are put under the most stress. Since they have a very high expectation from their parents and an education system that is based around competition. The mom of a elementary schooler said this on an interview Around 90% of my son’s classmates attend after-school lessons. It’s a competition I can’t lose. These parents are pushing their children’s limits so they don’t lose a competition. On top ofSo plus the 14 hours of homework that these students get a week, their parents make them do 1-2 hours of tutoring each day and 3-4 hours of extracurricular activities. But the results have paid off as on the PISA (program international student assembly) test, they had some of the highest scores. Even though the more homework you give the more the students might feel demotivated therefore look on the internet or ask friend for answers. There is really no good amount of homework but it all depends on whether you finished your work in class or if you need extra work. It is normal to not always finish your work in class so getting that for homework is fair. Also if you are not very good in a particular subject you should need to do extra work at home but if you are getting good enough grades you should not need to do homework. But shouldn’t there be a limit. In July, the ministry of education in China ordered kindergarten teachers to make their students focus on fun learning and not cramming facts from books. That is how competitive they are. It has gotten to the point where they had to stop kindergarten teachers giving their students too much homework and school work. A survey of around 1,300 primary kids by Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service last year found that 21.7 percent complained of constant stress, with the most common sources of pressure being too much homework, preparing for secondary school and unsatisfactory academic performance. A study has shown that their education system is mainly based knowledge based, so most schools completely ignore fitness programs. That is why a large number of students from China tend to be overweight. That 21.7% is a large amount of students that aren’t even in middle school or high school. A elementary student named Javis typically woke at 7am and got to school by 8am. The next seven hours were spent in classes with just three five-minute recesses and half an hour for lunch. He then had two hours of tuition for his homework, eight or nine assignments a day, but 12 on Fridays and any other tasks from the tutors. That is way too much stress put on students. But that’s just how the chinese education system is. The kids from China are now probably used to a lot of stress.

Now the education system in Finland is a whole other story. They don’t take the approach of cramming knowledge into the kids’ brains and then move to the next subject. They take their time and make learning fun and easy. Students in Finland get almost no homework and basically no tests. If we take New York as an example to compare with Finland as they have the same amount of teachers. Before a New York student reaches high school, he will have taken around 10 standardized tests and in Finland, the students take one standardized test and that is when they are 16. In Finland, the student to teacher ratio is a lot lower than in New York. they have 1 teacher for 12 students and in New York they have 1 teacher for 24 students. Even though they have the same amount of teachers. TNow this gives the students a lot more teacher interaction. But do all these methods work?. In the 2006 PISA test, they denominated everyone else with a average score of 562 whilst places like Hong Kong got an average score of 541. But that was when Finland was at its prime. Finland’s PISA test scores did drop dramatically since 2006. Their score in 2015 was 523, which is not so good of a score. But 93% of Finnish students graduate high school while only 75% of US students graduate high school. So while the Finnish education system has its goods and bads, the Finnish students experience almost no stress. They let kids be kids.

On average, American teens would report their stress level a 5.8 on a ten point scale. More than a third of teens (36 percent) reported feeling tired and almost one quarter of teens (23 percent) also said that they skipped a meal due to stress. Many teens (31 percent) also reported feeling overwhelmed and 30 percent also felt sad or depressed as a result of stress. DEven during the end of summer of 2013, teens reported their stress at levels higher than experts think is healthy: 4.6 on a 10 point scale. The average American teenager also has the same level of anxiety as a psychiatric patient in the 1950s. All of these statistics are present to this day. Teens are feeling a lot more stressed nowadays than in the olden days. That’s because teens nowadays are put under a lot of stress by parents and teachers that, becuase this one tests can decides if you become successful in life or not. In the American education system, everybody is expected to accomplish the same goal. Homework also has a big role in stress. Because of students having to do school work at home, that is diminishing the time that students have to do stuff they actually like. After a long day of school, they then have to go to practice or after school activity. And then when they come home, they have an hour of two of homework each day. One father ran an experiment where he did his daughter’s homework for a whole week. He recorded feeling frustrated and felt like his time was being wasted. He spent hours on end working on different subjects on homework. His conclusion on the extravagant amount of homework was that the teachers assign homework not taking into consideration the rest of the classes. One teacher will assign a test, the other will assign reading, one will assign math problems and the other teacher will assign a small essay all due the next day. That leads to at least 4 hours of homework each night. Also most education system aren’t for most people. Children were made to move around, not sit inside and study for hours on end, and not everyone likes to be called on or work quietly. However, classrooms are only made for the select few kids that can tolerate the high expectation, so those few kids succeed while others fall behind. We’re expected to keep up at least two or three extracurriculars, volunteer, and/or get a job. But all these activities use up a lot of our time. Also, since we know more and have access to more, teens are expected to do more than their parents have at younger ages. As an unknown person once said once said Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life feeling stupid. this is what is happening in the modern world, everybody is put up to the same tests and if somebody fails that tests. It will grow up feeling like he didn’t live up to his full potential, even though he might have tried his best. But what if America tried kinesthetic learning which is the kids perform physical activities instead of listening to lectures or watching demonstrations. Now this has good and bad effects on the students. The good effects would be that whatever the kids learn, it will be easier to remember as they are not sitting at a desk listening but performing it themselves. And it might be easier to learn as kids are moving around and not sitting at a desk for 8 hours. The negative side effects is that students that use kinesthetic learning feel their way of learning is not as good because they can not sit and do work. This is bad because it is highly doubtful that colleges or even jobs will adapt to kinesthetic learning because it may not get the job done like it does now.

People think that dealing with stress involves a lot of work or takes a lot of time. But it actually doesn’t. These ways of dealing with stress just take an hour or less out of your day. First of all, exercise. Exercising is one of the best way to deal with stress. Physical activity produces endorphins which are basically chemicals that act as natural pain killers. Exercising also makes you tired which will help you to fall asleep if you are feeling stressed out. Just talking about your stress to friends and family can help you out a decent amount. I know it may seem silly but talking about your sources of stress to people can relieve some of the pent-up feelings that can contribute to stress, such as frustration, anger, and anxiety. But if you don’t have or want to talk to someone then just having a stress diary is enough. It may not be as efficient as face to face conversation but it is better than doing nothing. Physical activity has been proved to be the most effective way to deal with stress because it reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. The way you deal with stress is based on you. Even though stress affects us all the same way, dealing with it is different for everybody. But what you never do when dealing with stress is take drugs, nicotine or excessive drinking. Many people have turned to these substances while dealing with chronic stress, and it just made everything worse. Some abusive drugs affect your brain the same way stress does. Long-term abuse of drugs makes users more sensitive to everyday stress than non-users. That is why drugs in not the solution to dealing with stress.

In conclusion, America should try to replicate the Finnish education system and not the education system of China. Because the Chinese education system creates way too much stress on students and barely lets them move around. Plus they don’t do PE classes that often because they feel it is unnecessary even though physical activity is key to relieve stress. But would it even be possible to replicate the education system of Finland? We know the PISA scores of Finnish students are better than the ones of American students. This linked to a lot less stress makes us believe the American could learn from them. But we also know that the teacher/student ratio is higher in Finland. Private education in America is moving more into that direction. But can the average American family afford these high tuition fees that private schools charge? Therefore America could only dream about getting a education system as good as the one of Finland. But Americo could also try kinesthetic learning taking into consideration the positive and negative side effects of it but it might be worth the try.

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