Perceptions of danger and responses to anxiety vary for every human, giving us all a unique “anxiety fingerprint” that includes a range of related behaviours. Common behaviours that show up in the classroom include the following (click each drawing for more details):
Anxiety-related behaviours are often seen in students with other behavioural and learning challenges, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), making it difficult to assess what’s going on for a student who is struggling. Because anxiety is such a common emotion, it’s always good to consider it as a possible driver of behaviour—even if the student isn’t aware of it.
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Think of a student, past or present, whose behaviour was difficult to understand. Is it possible that the behaviour is or was being fueled by anxiety? How would looking at the behaviour differently affect your approach to working with this student? Record your response using Take Notes or another format of your choice.