Stress Among School Going Children

Results of the survey conducted among school going children in the city of Lucknow.

Published by Vidyatree Foundation

Under the guidance of Dr. Vivek Agarwal MD, Professor, Child Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, King George Medical University, Lucknow

Students surveyed in Lucknow

Students surveyed in VMWC

“In our country all children are taught in similar fashion without any modification for need of different children.”

Dr. Vivek Agarwal MD

Professor, Child Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, King George Medical University, Lucknow

INTRODUCTION

by Rakesh Kapoor, Founder, Vidyatree Foundation

Dear Educators, Students and Parents,

It is out of love for children and a concern for their best development, that we present this study on Stress Among School Going Children. Momentary stress from time to time is okay. It releases a hormone called cortisol in the brain – cortisol heightens brain functioning to face the momentary high challenge. But if moderate or high stress continues for long, the constant release of cortisol in the brain begins to damage brain capacities. This is termed as chronic stress. Especially among children, the effect of chronic stress is greater and many a times, long lasting. Please see a sample list of research studies on page 14 of this report.

The traditional system of education was set up by the British in the 19th Century in India and the rest of the British empire. Their assumptions were that all children are same in intelligence, personality and learning capacity; covering the syllabus should be the focus of teaching rather than understanding by the children; exams at the end of syllabus completion tell us how far the children have succeeded or failed in learning/recalling. There may be 30 to 70 children sitting in a class and teacher improperly trained and motivated. In such schools it is not the school’s problem if most children do not learn in the school; it is the problem of the child and his / her parents.

On the other hand, the 21st century approach to education, especially quality international systems, like International Baccalaureate and Vidyatree, is: each child’s intelligence, personality and speed of learning is different from the

 

other; the number of children in a class must be such that the teacher can have a continuing relationship of serve-and-return with each child – 20 to 25 children in a classroom. Instead of ‘sudden death’ kind of exams at the completion of the syllabus, there needs to be continuous assessment and focus on what more the child needs to learn. Is is the school’s duty to properly educate each child.

We always felt that the dysfunctionality of the 19th century education system was bound to create great stress on the child and indirectly on the whole family. So to verify the difference in the two education systems scientifically, we approached some psychiatrists of the city. We were told that a Cortisol test and other such tests are possible, but due to legal and cost reasons, it will be better to conduct a stress survey. We approached the Psychiatry Department of King George Medical University, Lucknow. The Professor and head of Child Psychiatry, Dr Vivek Agarwal kindly helped us with the research instrument and design. The study is restricted to private and non government-aided K12 schools of the city of Lucknow. We present to you the significant results of that survey in this report.

Rakesh Kapoor
BA (Hons.) Delhi University, M. Ed. Lucknow University,
C3P Columbia University, Mindfulness Coach
Founder, Vidyatree Modern World College, Lucknow & Vidyatree Foundation

22 March, 2015

PREFACE

by Dr. Vivek Agarwal MD, Professor Child Psychiatry, King George Medical University, Lucknow

Academic stress has been increasing significantly in a large number of children. Stress is not only perceived in higher classes but also by children in primary classes. The reasons could be the information overload, increased competitiveness, pressure from teachers and parents to perform well in studies and unrealistic expectations.

There is pressure on children right from the kindergarten to perform well and learn a lot. Children are given so much home work that they hardly get time to play or have recreational activities. Then there are problems like the way of teaching. Different children perceive things better in different ways like some children are good at listening while other at visual inputs. In our country all children are taught in similar fashion without any modification for need of different children. Those who are able to adjust to the prevailing system are promoted while those not able to adapt suffer with poor grades and humiliation.

There is too much emphasis on studies at the cost of overall development of the child. These pressures are affecting the physical and psychological well

being of these children leading to overall poor outcome as an adult. Therefore it is important to study the various aspects of academic stress in different age group of children so that appropriate measures could be taken to reduce the stress in children.

The current study was planned to study the academic stress in children of different age groups in Lucknow city, to understand what areas are more stressful to them. The study has found significant number of children feeling stressed due to various aspects of academics like homework, classroom methods,  examination etc. This gives an insight in to levels of stress in children. Efforts should be made to reduce the stress in children in light of the findings of the study so that they grow-up to their full potential.

Dr. Vivek Agarwal
Professor, Child Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry,
King George Medical University, Lucknow, India; and
Editor, Journal of Indian Association for
Child and Adolescent Mental Health

12 March, 2015

Design of Survey

Introduction

A study of academic stress was conducted among school going children of Lucknow during 15th February to 2nd of March 2015. The objective of the survey was to assess the degree of academic stress on various stressors among the students in Lucknow

Sample Size

A sample of 700 students was taken for the survey from the city of Lucknow. The sample was distributed proportionally among the students from Grades V to XII.

Method

Household survey method was adopted to conduct the survey, wherein face to face interview technique was used to administer the survey instrument.

15 localities were selected, spread across the city; in each locality eight starting points were selected from where the field researcher explored a household where s/he will find the target student to interview. Only one student was interviewed from a household, the next interview was conducted leaving 5 houses. Only six students were interviewed from each starting point. This process of identifying the students was followed till the total sample was achieved .

A well-structured instrument, provided by Dr. Vivek Agarwal, was administered by the field researchers.

Survey in a 21st Century Educational System

For comparison, a similar survey was conducted among the students of the Vidyatree Modern World College, who have the International Baccalaureate and Vidyatree Program (Grades 4 to 8) with maximum 25 children per class, latest teaching methods, use of technology for inquiry and regular world class teacher training.  The results of the survey among IB and Vidyatree students are also presented for comparison.

CROWDED CLASSROOMS

=

Traditional 19th Century Educational System

Generally:

  • High number of students per class (30 to 60+)
  • Teacher + syllabus + exam centered system
  • No continuous teacher training and no quality control

 

  • Not stressful 45.7%
  • Somewhat stressful 37.9%
  • Very stressful 16.4%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

=

21st Century Educational System

At Vidyatree Modern World College, Lucknow

  • 20 to 25 students per class
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) & Vidyatree Curricula
  • Child entered education system with skills & attributes development, and assessment-for-improvement
  • Latest world class teaching methods that create intrinsic motivation to learn
  • Continuous world class teacher training and quality control
  • Not stressful 99.1%
  • Somewhat stressful .6%
  • Very stressful .3%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

SPEED LECTURING BY TEACHERS

=

Traditional 19th Century Educational System

Generally:

  • High number of students per class (30 to 60+)
  • Teacher + syllabus + exam centered system
  • No continuous teacher training and no quality control

 

  • Not stressful 39.1%
  • Somewhat stressful 36%
  • Very stressful 24.9%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

=

21st Century Educational System

 

At Vidyatree Modern World College, Lucknow

  • 20 to 25 students per class
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) & Vidyatree Curricula
  • Child entered education system with skills & attributes development, and assessment-for-improvement
  • Latest world class teaching methods that create intrinsic motivation to learn
  • Continuous world class teacher training and quality control

 

  • Not stressful 90.8%
  • Somewhat stressful 8.6%
  • Very stressful .6%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

TEACHER DOES NOT WELCOME QUESTIONS

=

Traditional 19th Century Educational System

Generally:

  • High number of students per class (30 to 60+)
  • Teacher + syllabus + exam centered system
  • No continuous teacher training and no quality control

 

  • Not stressful 15%
  • Somewhat stressful 46%
  • Very stressful 39%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

=

21st Century Educational System

 

At Vidyatree Modern World College, Lucknow

  • 20 to 25 students per class
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) & Vidyatree Curricula
  • Child entered education system with skills & attributes development, and assessment-for-improvement
  • Latest world class teaching methods that create intrinsic motivation to learn
  • Continuous world class teacher training and quality control

 

  • Not stressful 92.3%
  • Somewhat stressful 7.4%
  • Very stressful .3%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

INCORRECT ANSWER IN THE CLASS

=

Traditional 19th Century Educational System

Generally:

  • High number of students per class (30 to 60+)
  • Teacher + syllabus + exam centered system
  • No continuous teacher training and no quality control

 

  • Not stressful 11%
  • Somewhat stressful 11%
  • Very stressful 78%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

=

21st Century Educational System

 

 

At Vidyatree Modern World College, Lucknow

  • 20 to 25 students per class
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) & Vidyatree Curricula
  • Child entered education system with skills & attributes development, and assessment-for-improvement
  • Latest world class teaching methods that create intrinsic motivation to learn
  • Continuous world class teacher training and quality control

 

 

  • Not stressful 75.6%
  • Somewhat stressful 23.8%
  • Very stressful .6%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

LECTURE SPOKEN IN ENGLISH

=

Traditional 19th Century Educational System

Generally:

  • High number of students per class (30 to 60+)
  • Teacher + syllabus + exam centered system
  • No continuous teacher training and no quality control

 

  • Not stressful 40.1%
  • Somewhat stressful 38.4%
  • Very stressful 21.4%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

=

21st Century Educational System

 

 

At Vidyatree Modern World College, Lucknow

  • 20 to 25 students per class
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) & Vidyatree Curricula
  • Child entered education system with skills & attributes development, and assessment-for-improvement
  • Latest world class teaching methods that create intrinsic motivation to learn
  • Continuous world class teacher training and quality control

 

 

  • Not stressful 83%
  • Somewhat stressful 16.4%
  • Very stressful .6%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

HOT CLASSROOMS IN SUMMER

=

Traditional 19th Century Educational System

Generally:

  • High number of students per class (30 to 60+)
  • Teacher + syllabus + exam centered system
  • No continuous teacher training and no quality control

 

  • Not stressful 40.1%
  • Somewhat stressful 35.3%
  • Very stressful 24.6%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

=

21st Century Educational System

 

 

At Vidyatree Modern World College, Lucknow

  • 20 to 25 students per class
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) & Vidyatree Curricula
  • Child entered education system with skills & attributes development, and assessment-for-improvement
  • Latest world class teaching methods that create intrinsic motivation to learn
  • Continuous world class teacher training and quality control

 

 

  • Not stressful 79.3%
  • Somewhat stressful 17.9%
  • Very stressful 2.8%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

UNCLEAR HOMEWORK

=

Traditional 19th Century Educational System

 

Generally:

  • High number of students per class (30 to 60+)
  • Teacher + syllabus + exam centered system
  • No continuous teacher training and no quality control

 

 

  • Not stressful 5.1%
  • Somewhat stressful 9.1%
  • Very stressful 85.8%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

=

21st Century Educational System

 

 

At Vidyatree Modern World College, Lucknow

  • 20 to 25 students per class
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) & Vidyatree Curricula
  • Child entered education system with skills & attributes development, and assessment-for-improvement
  • Latest world class teaching methods that create intrinsic motivation to learn
  • Continuous world class teacher training and quality control

 

 

  • Not stressful 78.7%
  • Somewhat stressful 19.8%
  • Very stressful 1.5%

%

Students are somewhat and very stressed

PREPARING FOR EXAMS

=

Traditional 19th Century Educational System

 

Generally:

  • High number of students per class (30 to 60+)
  • Teacher + syllabus + exam centered system
  • No continuous teacher training and no quality control

 

 

  • Not stressful 53%
  • Somewhat stressful 8%
  • Very stressful 39%

%

Students are very stressed

=

21st Century Educational System

 

 

At Vidyatree Modern World College, Lucknow

  • 20 to 25 students per class
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) & Vidyatree Curricula
  • Child entered education system with skills & attributes development, and assessment-for-improvement
  • Latest world class teaching methods that create intrinsic motivation to learn
  • Continuous world class teacher training and quality control

 

 

  • Not stressful 46.9%
  • Somewhat stressful 48.5%
  • Very stressful 4.6%

%

Students are very stressed

Effects of Chronic Stress

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