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ACER Report confirms Students' stress levels are up..

Posted on 2 July 2018
ACER Report confirms Students' stress levels are up..
Australian students are increasingly stressed, worry more and have less confidence in their abilities than 15 years ago, a largescale survey of the social and emotional wellbeing of more than 135,000 young people reveals.

Almost half of all students claim to be "very stressed", up from 28 per cent in 2003 when the survey started, while the proportion of those feeling "confident when doing difficult schoolwork" has fallen from 76 per cent to 59 per cent.

The research, conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research and Melbourne University educational psychologist Michael Bernard, has highlighted a widespread trend towards underachievement, with 70 per cent of students saying they could do better in their school work and 38 per cent admitting to "giving up" when they did not understand or became bored in the classroom.

Professor Bernard said 17 per cent of students were found to have "low" or "emerging" social and emotional wellbeing - the lowest two of the five identified levels - which were typically associated with being disconnected from family or peers, having negative emotions, feelings and behaviours, and lacking in social values and skills.

In contrast, those with highly developed social and emotional wellbeing tended to have parents who were authoritative and interested, and teachers who were effective and caring. They were positively engaged with their peers and extra-curricular activities, were effective at managing worry, were aware of their emotions and were self-accepting.

Professor Bernard said one of the more concerning findings was a lack of resilience observed among a growing number of young people.

"We see students who are unable to stand up to pressure - be it a NAPLAN test or simply schools expecting lots more of them - because parents tend to helicopter," he said.

"Over-involved, very concerned parents are trying to do everything for their children, taking on too much responsibility on their behalf, and as a result kids lack confidence." While the study of 137,408 students from 701 primary and secondary schools has revealed a link between social and economic disadvantage and lower wellbeing, students at high-performing schools in affluent suburbs were not immune.

Laurimar Primary School in Doreen in Melbourne's northwest incorporated social and emotional development into its curriculum 10 years ago, adopting the You Can Do It program developed by Professor Bernard.

Principal Jason McBean said the biggest issues affecting his students were family breakdown, too much time spent on social media and cyber bullying.

"One of the best things we've had is former students come back to visit," he said. "And they all report back that they were more than prepared. It's important to get that affirmation." 

From: The Australian, Australia  by Rebecca Urban

15 Jun 2018
Tags: wellbeing ACER

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