While student stress and anxiety are frequently cited as having negative effects on students’ academic performance, the role that instructors can play in mitigating these challenges is often underappreciated. We provide summaries of different evidence-based strategies, ranging from changes in instructional strategies to specific classroom interventions, that instructors may employ to address and ameliorate student stress and anxiety. While we focus on students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the strategies we delineate may be more broadly applicable. We begin by highlighting ways in which instructors can learn about and prepare to act to alleviate stress and anxiety. We then discuss how to better connect with students and build an inclusive, equitable, and empowering classroom environment. When coupled with strategies to change student evaluation and assessment, these approaches may collectively reduce student stress and anxiety, as well as improve student performance. We then discuss the roles that instructors may play in empowering students with skills that improve their time management, studying, and approach toward learning, with an eye toward ensuring their success across all their academic endeavors. We conclude by noting areas in which further research is needed to determine best practices for alleviating student stress and anxiety.
Hsu, J., & Goldsmith, G. R. (2021). Instructor strategies to alleviate stress and anxiety among college and university STEM students. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.20-08-0189
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