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    Stress and learning in pupils: neuroscience evidence and its relevance for teachers

    Whiting, S.B. and Wass, S.V. and Green, Simon and Thomas, Michael S.C. (2021) Stress and learning in pupils: neuroscience evidence and its relevance for teachers. Mind, Brain, and Education 15 (2), pp. 177-188. ISSN 1751-2271.

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    Our understanding of how stress affects primary school children’s attention and learning has developed rapidly. We know that children experience differing levels of stressors (factors that cause stress) at home, and that this can influence how they respond to new stressors when they occur in educational contexts. Here, we review evidence showing that stress can increase children’s attention and learning capacities in some circumstance but hinder them in others. We show how children differ in their attention and learning styles, dependent on stress levels: for example, more highly stressed children may be more distracted by superficial features and may find it harder to engage in planning and voluntary control. We review intervention research on stress management techniques in children, concentrating on psychological techniques (such as mindfulness and stress reappraisal), physiological techniques (such as breathing exercises) and environmental factors (such as reducing noise). At the current time, raising teachers’ awareness of pupils’ differing stress responses will be an important step in accommodating the differing needs of children in their classrooms.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Educational Neuroscience, Centre for
    Depositing User: Michael Thomas
    Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2021 16:16
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:07


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