From the foregoing, anxietycan thus be explained as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension,worried thoughts and physical changes which can affect performance. Lang (1968) classified the symptoms ofanxiety into a system of three-responses: verbal-subjective, overt motor acts,and somato-visceral activity. In this system, the symptoms of anxiety includeworry, avoidance, and muscle tension. The AmericanNational Association of School Psychologists (2004) also points out thatanxiety affects people’s feelings, body response, behaviors, and thoughts.
According to the Scottish Department of Clinical Psychology (2005),an anxious person experiences physical feelings and worrying thoughts whichmake it hard to do even simple tasks.Eyesenck (cited in Gelman, 2004) contends that anxiety comprises twodistinct components: worry and emotionality. According to her, worry is thecognitive aspect of anxiety whiles emotionality relates to the physiologicalaspect. She adds that these two components of anxiety create a feeling oftension and nervousness among student-teachers. This view is supported by theAmerican National Association of School Psychologists who posits that thecentral characteristic of anxiety is worry, that is, an excessive concern aboutsituations with uncertain outcomes. Sammephet& Wanphet (2013) observe that teachers’ anxiety is a major concern notonly to experienced teachers but also to student-teachers. They add that thenegative impact of anxiety always has a strong influence on the teachingperformance of student-teachers particularly in the first encounter withstudents in the History classroom. Stress among prospectiveteachersStress experienced byprospective teachers has attracted an increasing amount of attention over thepast ten years or so.
According to Ngidi & Sibaya (2003), findings ofempirical studies indicate that a high level of anxiety among student-teachersmay be tied to various negative consequences such as class control problems andclassroom disruptions. McKeachie (citedin Sammephet & Wanphet, 2013)divides student-teachers’ anxieties into to three stages including ‘beforeteaching hour’, ‘while-teaching hour’, and ‘after teaching hour’. During the’before teaching hour’, the student-teacher is worried about planning lessonsor preparing materials for a successful lesson. During the ‘while-teachinghour’, teachers are worried about unexpected situations, among which are theteachers’ anxieties over interaction with students, over time management, overclassroom management as well as over the presence of a supervisor. In the’after-teaching hour’, the anxieties still remain because the teachers areworried about feedback from their supervisors especially if the feedback isunfavorable. MacDonald (cited in Wagenaar, 2005) identified thefollowing factors as the main reasons that make student teachers feel constantpressure: lack of role clarification, not knowing the expectations of the hostteacher, feeling the need to fit into existing practices and teaching styles,the lack of time to talk to the host teacher as well as the actual evaluationprocedure. Bhargava (2009) alsocited six anxiety inducing areas for student teachers during teaching practice.These are lesson planning, classroom management, heavy workload, time table ofthe school, evaluation by a supervisor, and less preparatory time beforeteaching practice.
Turan (2011)revealed that student-teachers are anxious about factors such as evaluation,classroom management, pedagogy and staff relations and that femalestudent-teacher are more anxious compared to their male counterparts in theteaching practicum. He again found inconsistencies in the way student teachersare assessed, varying expectations of supervisors related to their performancein class, and the poor quality of feedback given to student-teachers by theirmentors and supervisors as other areas of anxiety for student-teachers.The following paragraphs ofthe literature dwells on three major anxiety inducing areas which are heavyworkload, classroom management, and supervision.
1) Heavy workloadEvery student teacher isexpected meet the standard required of a professional teacher. As such theyengaged in all forms of activities, be they academic or non-academic that arepart of the school system. According to Kyriacou& Stephens (1999), copingwith the general workload of being a teacher tend to scare manystudent-teachers. They opine that despite the fact that student-teachersnormally have a much reduced timetable, they are faced with having to undertakemany tasks as well as teaching topics for the first time. This means that thetime they need to devote to planning and preparation, finding and developingappropriate teaching materials, mastering the subject matter, and conductingthe necessary assessment of pupils’ progress, including marking any writtenwork, all takes much longer than it would for an experienced teacher (Kyriacou & Stephens 1999). Ghanaguru,Nair, & Yong (2013) identify lesson planning as a problematic andanxiety inducing area especially for student teachers.
Bharvaga (2009) explains that lesson planning induces anxietywhen what is planned fail to match up with what actually transpires in theclassroom and student teachers have to mentally re-adjust or replan theirwritten lesson plan. According to her, some student-teachers report ofsleepless nights during teaching practice, as they have to prepare lesson plansand teaching aids for a number of periods the next day. This is enough to makestudent-teachers nervous.
Turan’s (2011) study also found that planning,preparation, teaching, testing and doing some office work was agreed upon by80% of student-teachers as an important source of anxiety. Again it was foundthat some supervisors preferred simple lesson plans whiles others expected adetailed lesson plan. Detailed lesson plans was found to be boring andstressful to the student-teachers as they had to rehearse the plan many timesand implement it in the classroom, thus, adding up to their anxiety. Ankuma (2007) also points out thatthe anxiety level of student-teachers are increased by the demand to spare timefor and be involved in all co-curricular activities of the school as well aswrite their projects. In a study on student-teachers’ concerns during teachingpractice, Kyriacou & Stephens (1999)reported that student-teachers indicated a sense of tiredness and, in somecases, sheer exhaustion. Also, most of them imagined how they would cope with afull-time teaching post on taking up a first appointment.
Similarly, Tomlinson (1995) pointed to how thesheer intensity of the experience of being a student teacher, based on thephysical demands it makes and the high level of uncertainty they face, can leadto high levels of stress. Capel (1997)in a study on changes in practicum students’ anxieties and concerns after theirfirst and second teaching practices also pointed out that student-teacherscomplain of too many instructional duties making them feel under pressure mostof the time. These studies indicate how heavy workload during teaching practiceinduces stress and anxiety in student-teachers, not excepting those in thefield of History2) Classroom ManagementEffective classroommanagement is defined by Chamundeswari(2013) as a climate emphasizing and conducive to proper learning, goodbehavior and positive inter-personal relationships. She adds that classroommanagement is a major area of concern for teachers as ineffective managementleads to serious conditions of indiscipline causing damage to the conductiveclimate for learning.
Kyriacou &Stephens (1999) support this view by noting that a major area of concernfor practice teachers is maintaining good discipline in the classroom anddealing successfully with pupils who misbehave. They reported in their studythat the student-teachers referred to misdemeanors such as noisy behavior inclass, cheekiness in corridors, talking when the teacher is talking asmanagement issues that caused them exhaustion. Preece (cited in Kyriacou & Stephens, 1999) reported thatdiscipline problems often led to high levels of anxiety in student-teachers. Healso found that in some cases, a high level of anxiety by students duringteaching practice actually appeared to be a cause of discipline problems.Another study by Tuli (2006) showedthat student misbehavior in school served as a de-motivative factor thatdiscouraged student-teachers to accomplish their task effectively. Mapfumo, Chitsiko, & Chireshe (2012) studiedteaching practice generated stressors among student-teachers in Zimbabwe andreported that the introduction of the mentees as ‘student-teachers’ posedmanagement problem in their classrooms.
According to the report, the fact thatthey (mentees) were introduced to the learners as student-teachers demoralisedthe student-teachers and also gave learners in the school the courage toundermine the authority of the student-teachers in and outside the classroom.The respondents thus attributed difficulty in managing classrooms to difficultlearners who disrespected especially the female student teachers. Sammephet & Wanphet (2013) addsthat the reason for the anxiety in managing student behavior is theunfamiliarity with secondary school students as student-teachers hadmicroteaching experience with university students. Also, according to a studyby Turan (2011), 72% of the respondentsreported that having lack of knowledge about the pupils they worked with andlack of experience as to how to cope with various problems regarding classroommanagement created anxiety.In her study, Bhargava (2009)also found that in some of the schools visited by student-teachers, the impishbehaviour of the children caused disturbance in the class and impeded effectiveclassroom management. She attributed classroom management problems tostudent-teachers inability to identify with the children, or the fact that thetopic to be taught by them was already covered in the class by the regularteacher. Goh & Matthews (2011)also noted that participants reported that classroom management was their mostworrisome issue.
The foregoing classroom management scenarios add up to thetensions and anxieties the History student-teacher goes through during teachingpractice.