Education

Fear and Loathing of Standing Up in Front of the Class

July 27, 1983 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The honored tradition of the oral report is the leading cause of stress among secondary-school students--so much so that many would prefer to take a failing grade, suggests a study by an Ohio State University researcher.

The major reason, says Susan Sears, assistant professor of human resources education at the university, is that students worry about pleasing both the teacher and their classmates when giving oral presentations. “What may make a good impression on the teacher may not impress their peers,” Ms. Sears explains. “The other kids may say the student is ‘apple-polishing.”’

Using questionnaires and interviews, Ms. Sears surveyed about 4,000 junior-high and high-school students in Ohio to find out major causes of stress at school.

Oral presentations were ranked first by both age groups; other factors receiving high rankings included the desire to get good grades, taking tests, being humiliated publicly by teachers, and trying to complete projects under deadline pressure.

Pressure to be sexually active, while not listed on the questionnaire, was also cited by many students as a source of stress.

Ms. Sears suggests several strategies to ease the stress associated with public speaking. Including more students in class discussions, teaching deep-breathing techniques for relaxation, and scheduling presentations in small groups rather than before the entire class would help, she believes.

“Educators need to do all that they can to not create situations that add undue stress to the stress students already face,” she says. “Moderate stress adds to motivation, but many kids can’t handle all the stress they’re under today.”

A version of this article appeared in the July 27, 1983 edition of Education Week as Fear and Loathing of Standing Up in Front of the Class

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Profession Webinar
Professional Wellness Strategies to Enhance Student Learning and Live Your Best Life
Reduce educator burnout with research-affirmed daily routines and strategies that enhance achievement of educators and students alike. 
Content provided by Solution Tree
English-Language Learners Webinar The Science of Reading and Multilingual Learners: What Educators Need to Know
Join experts in reading science and multilingual literacy to discuss what the latest research means for multilingual learners in classrooms adopting a science of reading-based approach.
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 15, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 11, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read