E-journal of All India Association for Educational Research (EJAIAER)
VOL.20 Nos: 3 & 4 September & December, 2008
A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO STRESS MANAGEMENT IN SCHOOL CHILDREN
Baiju K. Nath
Human community is prone to variety of stress in modern life. People of all ages suffer from one or other type of stress. Recently school children, regardless of the level of education, suffer different types of stress. The recent changes in school curriculum, constructivist approach in instruction, modern trends in a rapidly changing society, change in family structure into a nuclear family, preferably with a single child complicated the situations further. If a teacher wishes to provide guidance to his disciples in this regard, s/he should first of all know the stressful situations, possible causes of such stressful situations, and how to relieve them from such situations. A study of this type is essential to give a guideline in this direction .Physical stress is the one which is of prime consideration among different types of stress. A suggestion has been made to reduce weight of school bag is that, to divide each text books into three by dividing portions of the three terms in an academic year. The study throws light on the feasibility of that suggestion also.
1.To identify the factors contribute to ‘increased weight of school bag’ of children at pre – primary , primary , and secondary levels;
2.To investigate into other important factors put in to physical stress in school children;
3.To suggests necessary measures to reduce weight of school bag of children at pre- primary , primary , and secondary levels ;
4.To provide suggestions to overcome physical stress in school children.
The present study followed the procedure of descriptive research. The investigator gathered relevant information by conduct a survey by administration of various tools such as questionnaire, & schedules and adoption of different techniques, such as observation and document analysis.
1. Questionnaire for secondary pupils,
2. Schedule to gather information from pre- primary and primary school children; and
3. Interview schedules for parents and teachers
The sample of the study comprises of school children from pre- primary to secondary level in the Kannur and Kasaragod districts of Kerala state .The sample consists of 200 secondary level pupils, 100 each of primary and pre – primary children. Necessary weightage is given to type of institution such as , boys , girls , and coed schools ; area of institution such as rural / urban; nature of school such as , government , Aided , and unaided ; and level of institution such as pre – primary , lower primary, Upper primary and secondary. Physical balance is used to measure the weight of each student.
The weight of bag of school children is mainly contributed by text books , note books (separate for school & private tuition), collection books, project album, and assignments as the academic materials .
Other materials such as lunch box, snack box , water bottle, pencil box , umbrella, etc. are the other articles cause increase in weight of the bag .
The number of text books and note books in unaided schools are more in number than govt. and aided schools
The number of text books at pre – primary level in unaided schools are 4 – 6 in number ., but that of Govt institutions have no text books .The text books followed by pre – primary schools have no uniformity . Government does not supply text books for pre- primary section.
The number of text books in primary level at government and aided schools are 1 - 2 and that of unaided schools may vary between institution to institution ranges up to 10 – 12.
The number of text books at secondary level ranges from 9 – 14 in government and aided schools and 15 – 25 notebooks from classes VIII to X.
Supplementary articles such as collection books, project album, assignment report, geometry box, pencil box etc also included in the school bag of children of primary and secondary levels.
The average weight of school bag along with necessary inclusions ranges from 2Kg – 3.5 Kg in Pre- primary level(in unaided institution), up to 4kg in primary level and up to 5.5 Kg in secondary level . Pre – primary children at government institution have a bag weigh ½ - 1 Kg.
In most of the cases the weight of the bag exceeds 1/10th of the body weight of the children at pre – primary, primary and many of secondary level pupils.
Number of students traveled in such student carriages ranges up to 15 in auto rickshaw, 30 in small vans’, 50 in medium sized vans and 70 or more in buses
The home work given is excess according to majority of children at pre- primary, and primary level.
Standard of drinking water is very poor in most of the schools and hot water is not provided in majority of schools.
The conditions of urinals were poor in most of the schools in general and very poor for girl children even at girls’ schools.
Almost all govt. and aided institutions have a good play ground, but in many unaided schools running pre – primary and primary section have no play
Many students at primary level seek help from parents or others to do homework and projects; but majority at secondary level doesn’t get help from parents or teachers to do their homework and projects.
There should be no text books at least up to 4th standard. Instead of text books, teachers’ handbooks and resource materials should be provided to each teacher. If text book is a must, then provision should be made to keep those at school itself .Proper utilization of SSA fund to procure authentic reference materials in adequate number, then only teachers could utilize them effectively for all students .Utilisation of CCTV, multimedia presentations and EDUSAT programmes to provide realistic education by replacing conventional text books and methods of instruction. There should be no home work for pre –primary children. Home works should be given in a limited and realistic manner. Work book or portfolio should be provided to do home work , which should be kept at home and sent to school only once in every term . There should be an institutional plan to assign home work even for higher classes. Specific days should be fixed for home work in each subject. This should help to reduce overstress in children .Files should be made as a practice instead of note books, collection books, etc .Care should be given to provide or prepare by students them selves low cost files to reduce financial burden. Introduction of file system is helpful to reduce number of note books and thereby reduce weight of school bag .In most of the high schools number of periods are seven or eight , or it may increase up to nine by the introduction of library period which is under consideration. The number of periods per day should be reduced urgently to realize maximizing learning and to reduce weight of the bag . At present, in an eight period schedule only 25 – 35 minutes available for instruction. Such short duration is not enough to conduct group discussion and to reach concept attainment. Number of periods can be reduced by combining subject periods, so as to get enough time for group learning techniques which is essential for constructivist classrooms. Reduction in periods may result to reduce stress in children also .This is also helpful to teachers that they will get more preparation time, since preparation time is very crucial in costructivist approach .Number of papers in the secondary level examinations should be reduced as in CBSE / ICSE, which will have direct impact on physical stress. Examination in Information Technology should be eliminated from the scheme. Provision of food and quality drinking water at school help to reduce weight of school bag. There is a social feeling that private tuition is essential for effective learning. Standard of instruction along with remedial works at school should be made optimum to develop the feeling that private tuition is unnecessary. This should be helpful to reduce bag weight and to avoid time spent for tuition in early morning or late evening and on holidays there by reduce mental stress .Mode of conveyance and number of co travelers would increase stress in children by their early departure and late arrival at home along with congested travel for a long time in poorly ventilated and age old vehicles .The rules regarding student carriages should be redefined and strictly observed all over the state. Ensure better urinal facilities and create awareness about better sanitation practice in children, since they are responsible for keeping their whereabouts healthy.