Research Round 3 – How Does the Educational System Affect Teenagers Mentally?

Hey everyone,

I hope you are all doing well and adapting to our online schooling. Although it is a massive change, we are all in this together so stay safe and continue to do research for Social Responsibility! Within my third and final round for this cycle, I will be researching the negative effects of the educational system from excessive stress to high expectations and even the lack of balance in a student’s life. Especially as teenagers in high school, the pressure is put on us to choose courses and succeed in them because they relate to what we want to be in the future which creates added stress on top of our normal workload.

Excessive Stress

Unfortunately, a lot of teenagers feel pressure and stress during high school due to university admissions. Many students have mental breakdowns and extreme amounts of academic stress which their bodies somehow learned to cope with. According to a clinical psychologist in Maryland who is also a public education coordinator named Mary Alvord claims “a little stress is a good thing because it can motivate students to be organized. But too much stress can backfire.” After many surveys were conducted on teenagers and their parents, about 40% of parents reported their teens facing lots of stress while 45% of teens feel the pressure of school. (1) Although Dr. Charles Best is a public school, I found some research on private school students and their stress levels. Parents pay an abundance of tuition; however, many students report to be suffering from chronic stress due to AP classes, extracurriculars, and sports practices. By the time they reach university, some burn out because it is mentally straining. (2)

High Expectations

Although it is closely related to stress, students are feeling extremely pressured by parents, peers, and teachers to get into a decent university. In order to increase their chances, students must present their best grades, create portfolios, and prepare personal profiles which can be overwhelming while trying to maintain your average within your final year. (2) As university acceptance rates are decreasing and admission averages are increasing, students feel pressured to do more and put their personal health second. (4) Students find unhealthy ways to cope such as isolation and develop strong emotions like anger, frustration, and hostility. (3)

Lack of Balance

Many students, throw themselves into their education and forget about their own personal health. Students believe this will increase their grades because they are solely focused on their education, but neglecting physical exercise and social relationships lower their academic abilities. In order for students to reach their full potential, it’s important for students to have a healthy balance. (5) Without time management, students are seen alienated and struggle mentally coping with social problems, all because some homework assignments which they feel are pointless at the time, but in reality, determines their future. (6)

Effect on Students / Solutions

Sadly, research supports students who have high achieving goals in the future report higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and behavioral issues. Which can lead them to take drastic measures to reach their goals such as cheating, bullying, and self- harm. (4) Therefore, we need to take action by offering students a peaceful place to cope like a garden or a calming activity instead of punishment at the principal’s office. Offer students a lending hand by teachers expressing their concerns verbally and taking actions by maybe decreasing homework or shortening the lesson so students have time to ask questions and complete the assignment. Although homework is a part of learning, there is a line where it becomes more stressful than beneficial. (3)

That is all for this round of research! Stay tuned for my next cycle on “How Does the Educational System Affect Teenagers Emotionally?”

Citations

  1. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/12/02/246599742/school-stress-takes-a-toll-on-health-teens-and-parents-say
  2. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/10/high-stress-high-school/409735/
  3. https://www.apa.org/ed/schools/primer/stress
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/09/26/students-high-achieving-schools-are-now-named-an-at-risk-group/
  5. https://jhsap.org/self_help_resources/school-life_balance/
  6. https://news.stanford.edu/2014/03/10/too-much-homework-031014/

As always, any questions, comments, and opinions are welcome and appreciated. Stay safe everyone J

2 Replies to “Research Round 3 – How Does the Educational System Affect Teenagers Mentally?”

  1. Hi Lauren,

    I really liked how you formatted your post, as it made it really easy to read! I agree with all of the negative effects of the education system that you stated, but I believe there might be a few other things that contribute to school related stress. There’s a lot of discrimination, racism, bullying, and harassment that happens in school, which can drastically affect a student’s mental health. I don’t quite believe the education system itself is to blame for this, but I think it plays a big role in teenage stress levels. When students are bullied, it lowers their academic performance, and as you explained, students who don’t achieve their academic goals experience a variety of mental health problems. Not everyone experiences this, but I think it might be something interesting to look into!

    Here is an article that shows bullying statistics in Canadian schools:
    https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/bllng-prvntn/index-en.aspx

    This is an article about how racism affects even the mental health of younger kids:
    https://www.calhealthreport.org/2018/10/29/study-racism-affects-even-young-kids-mental-behavioral-health/

    And finally, and article linking bullying to low academic performance:
    https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/how-does-bullying-affect-a-students-academic-performance

    I look forward to reading your future posts,
    Jasmine P

  2. Hi Lauren! I really enjoyed reading your post, as I find the topic incredibly interesting. I have spoken to a lot of my friends about their mental states throughout the school year (up until now), because I’ve had numerous bad experiences with depression and now, I try to make sure that no one I care about has to go through those same experiences. Many of those friends have me that they feel stressed and that the everyday school life, with the tests, projects and grades becoming too much for them. Just like you mentioned, a lot of them feel like if they get grades that aren’t sufficient in the eyes of their parents, their parents will be either frustrated or disappointed in them, and that stress wears them down. One of the best ways to decrease that stress is, like you mentioned, lowering the amount of homework, but that is normally quite difficult to do, as teacher and parents a lot of the time will just say that the student is lazy and that they are trying to get away with less work; maybe you could touch more on how exactly we could achieve some of those solutions in a realistic setting?

    Some sources you could use are:
    https://www.learnpsychology.org/student-stress-anxiety-guide/
    https://www.verywellmind.com/top-school-stress-relievers-for-students-3145179
    https://www.oxfordlearning.com/how-to-relieve-school-stress/

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