The learning that occurs within a classroom is directly proportional to the way that the trainees feel about the subject matter and more importantly, about the trainer. Trainees possess an innate desire to succeed in their field of work and hence are anxious about their learning and their ability to comprehend the subject matter. This, more often than not, leads to an increasing level of cortisol – the hormone related to stress. Although cortisol is useful in certain instances, consistently elevated levels of cortisol could lead to impaired cognitive abilities among the trainees. In other words, stress is an encumbrance to both the trainees and the trainer. Here are 8 ways for trainers to keep stress in check in a classroom:
- Add creativity in the learning process.Trainers must not just resort to the deliverance of their module, but also add a pinch of creative & practical learning methods. Getting the trainees out of their seats for a practical session will result in a much better level of concentration once the trainees get back to their seats.
- Encourage humour in the classroom. Laughing is the best way to get comfortable with the trainees. Once the comfort sets in, there wouldn’t be any scope for stress in the classroom. Flexibility in terms of humour goes a long way in reducing or preventing any stress between the trainer and the trainees.
- Adopt the ‘flexible assignments’ model. Instead of assigning work with close deadlines on a consistent basis, the trainer could assign a packet of work to trainees and let them decide the deadline. This is particularly useful if a trainee is involved in other activities outside of work as it avoids the sacrifice made by trainees on their sleeping hours.
- Encourage effort. Some trainees require ten minutes to complete a module and have the ability to get top marks while others require an hour to complete the same module with average scores. This is NOT the fault of the trainees as everyone has their own learning timeframe.
- Allow chewing of gum in the classroom. Although this has always been a hotly debated topic, allowing trainees to chew gum in the classroom helps alleviate stress. The benefit of the doubt must be given to the trainees in this situation as everybody has a different way of dealing with stress and chewing gum might be one of them.
- Be relaxed. A relaxed trainer makes for a relaxed classroom. Trainers set the tone for the entire session and it only helps when the tone that is set is stress-free in nature. If the trainer isn’t stressed about the results or marks (of the trainees), the trainees tend to be more relaxed as well.
- Provide continual feedback. Feedback provided at just the right time can result in the end product being better. Trainers should provide ‘mini-grades’ or scores to trainees individually on a daily basis. Offering constant feedback helps trainees get back on track in order to make a difference to the end result.
- Be aware of the set-up. Trainers must always make sure that comfortable arrangements have been made for the session. Bad seating posture or poor lighting could cause trainees to lose interest in the subject matter and elevate their stress levels.
- Naresh Mulkunte