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The Way Teachers Can Help Their Students to Overcome Anxiety and Depression

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“Keep yourself busy if you want to avoid depression. For me, inactivity is the enemy”. Matt Lucas. I too believed with Matt Lucas that in order to get rid of depression, we as teachers must make use of teaching strategies in order to keep those adolescents busy most of the time. For example, in a classroom, teachers should design their lesson plan in such a way that the lesson being delivered is more student centered, where students are engaged most of the time and will avoid being depressed. I believed that those depressed students should be given individual attention and they will believed that there is someone who cares for them and they might even share their problems to the teacher, where solutions or advices might be provided to them to avoid being depressed.

One of the strategies that might deal with depression is to organize small group work between your students. Students feel less anxiety when they are doing activities with their friends. Depressed students develop a sense of sharing or may likely to speak up among their mates. For example, in Design and Technology, small group work may be organized during practical classes in the workshop, where students will be asked to work in groups after the demonstration has been done by the teacher. In this case, depressed students will keep their mind busy with the practical class and they tend to overcome the negative thoughts in their minds. Making students working in group work will help depressed students having positive advices from their friends. While students are working, teachers should collect data on their behavior and mood, so that the teacher can easily come up with a solution for those, who have a change in behavior. For example, if a student is not working well as he/ she works before, teacher should call the student in a corner and trying to find out what is the problem. Once the problem is identified, teacher should provide advice to that student so that he came out from being depressed.

In addition, teaching students’ problem solving skills might overcome depression in class. Problem solving skills involves defining the problem, looking for solutions and make a planning. Depressed students will tend to reduce negative thoughts in their minds since they can apply the problem solving skills in their daily life situation. For example, in Design and Technology, the design process is taught to students while making their project works. First of all, students will have to identify the problem, finding a solution to the identified problem and then make a planning. Teachers should take much time while delivering lesson on these three sub topics, since students can use the problem solving skills in their daily life and this will eventually help them to overcome depression. For example, some questions that might arise in depressed students’ minds are what is happening, why is it a problem for you and who is involved. After that, solutions to reduce or eradicate depression will automatically come in their minds and they will come up with a planning, “which involved what steps you need to take, who can help you and how they can help you”.

Moreover, we as teachers must encourage students to involve in extra-curricular activities might help depressed students as well to overcome negative thoughts or anxiety. Extra-curricular activities like sports, music or dramas will eventually contribute to overcome anxiety. Teaching students academically might often lead students to anxiety due to overload of subjects, classwork or homework. Organizing at least one extra- curricular activity every term might motivate students to keep a track on both their learning and keep them away from being depressed as well. Similarly, teachers should divide large tasks into parts so that students does not feel like it’s a burden upon them as it is too bulky. Students might feel depressed or fear if they cannot cope with the working paste. For example, in Design and Technology, where the topic design process in project work is to be taught in classroom, teachers should not teach all the steps on a particular day only. In order, they should deliver the lesson on the process situation and allow students to work out. Once finished, teacher can proceed on the next process that is research and asked student to assign this process. Adapting this method of teaching, students will eventually not feel depressed since the work being assigned to them is not that bulky and teacher can also keep a track on his/her students as well.

In the same wavelength, it can be added that frequent check-in for students’ behaviors might kept students away from being depressed. Teachers should at least check on their students’ behaviors, that is spot students who are having symptoms of depression and try to solve the problem at first before it worsen. If symptoms like loss of interest in learning, concentration problems, anger or loss of energy is observed within a student, then it is believed that student is being depressed. For example, a real life situation which had occurred and I had witnessed last year during the third term at my workplace, MITD Abercrombie Training Centre, a student named Jeremy. He was depressed all of a sudden, feeling angry and even threatening to throw concrete block at teachers. Jeremy had lost interest in learning and he bunked classes or even school at times, and if he do come in class, there was lack of concentration from his side. On that particular day, police officers came to control the situation, but in vain the matter worsen. To keep Jeremy calm, some teachers approached him and asked him what the matter is. He told the teachers that his dad has been arrested yesterday due to robbery and he do not have food to come to school. Finally, the officer-in-charge asked the police officers to go and then make an arrangement with the canteen to provide Jeremy with two breads every day.

It can be concluded that depression can be overcomed if teachers do make use of the above strategies mentioned and this will contribute to a decrease in the rate of depression across the world.

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