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CHAPTER 2 Literature Review In the 21st Century Classroom students

Categories: ClassroomLiterature


Literature Review

In the 21st Century Classroom students are dealing with more than just academics. Studies have shown that the stress level is higher for adolescents that adults. There is a connection to student stress and academic achievement. The following literature review will discuss the stress that adolescents face and the types of stressors they may experience. These stressors can range anywhere from family, school, friends to ·.. Adolescence stress have a wide range of effects such as emotional, behavior, academic, health, disease.

A part of education considers the well-being of a student. Consider how stress can affect the well-being of a student and how the social-emotional health of a child and adversely affect them which, in turn, can affect their academic performance and memory. As research has shown that stress affects the adolescent student there needs to various ways to manage stress. There are various stress reduction tools and practices such as meditation, talking with peers or family. One particular stress reduction tool this research is going to focus on is mindfulness.

Mindfulness practices in the classroom have shown to reduce the perceived stress levels of students. There are multiple effects that mindfulness can have on students, such as the reduction of anxiety, cognitive focus, and stress reduction.

A brief lead in to the chapter; an overview of how the Review is organized. You should categorize and organize your general topic and related subtopics in a coherent and understandable fashion.

Stress Defined

In today’s world the word stress seems to be common place, but what really is stress? We experience stress on many different levels as we

  • Types of stress
  • Distress (Seyle 1974)
  • Eustress (Seyle 1974)

“distress” and “eustress” in the early 1970s to distinguish whether the stress response was initiated by negative, unpleasant stressors, or positive emotions.

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Stress is an unavoidable occurrence that can be separated into both negative and positive aspects, known as distress and eustress. Distress is indicated by a negative state of mind, adverse functioning, lower perceived efficacy, negative emotional tension, debilitation, and detachment from the world. Eustress is described to be indicated by a positive state of mind, beneficial functioning, greater perceived efficacy, positive emotions, hearty constitution, and a connection with the world (Branson et. al., 2019)

Small amounts of stress may be desired, beneficial, and even healthy. Positive stress helps to improve athletic performance. It also plays a factor in motivation, adaptation, and reaction to the environment. Stress can be external and related to the environment but may also be created by internal perceptions that cause an individual to experience anxiety or other negative emotions surrounding a situation, such as pressure and discomfort, which they then deem stressful (Ansari 2018).

Types of Stressors

Following the perception of an acute stressful event, there is a cascade of changes in the

nervous, cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune systems. These changes constitute the stress

response and are generally adaptive, at least in the short term (Selye 1956). A stressor is

an agent that produces stress at any time. (Selye 1976).

The factors that were the most significant were test anxiety, academic performance, financial challenges, and social support. Findings from this study suggest that students are anxious when it comes to examinations, resulting in sleep disturbances and feelings of frustration. Additionally, this investigation is also aligned with the literature in regards to students’ social support. Some students may also express feelings of rejection or alienation if they felt they were unable to communicate with other people. However, other stressors that have been identified in the literature such as language barriers, culture shock, and family pressures were not significant in this study (Perez, et. al., 2019).

The most frequent stressor was school (maintaining good, passing their classes making it to graduation and being accepted into college), followed by money (teen financial status, extra spending money, fear of debt and how to make money) , relationships (difficulties with friends, particularly females feel stressed with relationships with males, and parents (demands of parents, fear of parents). Another trend among teens were referenced to the emotions inherent in their daily lives, such as worried, upset, or mad. Intervention is necessary to address teen stressors. Teachers, adults, management programs, and support groups.

The teens involved in the focus groups ranked school as their number one stressor in life. This held true for all grade levels and both genders, demonstrating that school, along with its associated workload and worries, caused stress for these teens (Herman, LaRue, 2008).

Repeated bullying victimization currently affects more than 20% of teenagers from 10-14 years of age worldwide and greatly increases both adolescence and adult risk of subsequent psychopathology, including anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder, substance use disorders, schizophrenia, and suicidality. The dopaminergic system of the medial prefrontal cortex appears to be particularly vulnerable to stress exposure during periadolescence (Graack, et. at., 2018).

Effect Indicators of the Stress Response, distress is identified by physiological indicators: headaches, loss of appetite, muscle tension, exhaustion/fatigue, and ill health. Behavioral indicators: absenteeism, lower productivity, neglect of responsibilities, restlessness and hinders achievement/performance. Cognitive indicators: hopeless, negative thoughts, loss of motivation, and unfocused (Branson, et. al., 2019).

Stress is a natural part of the daily life of students. Moreover, students may face stress due to personal, social, academic and economic hardships related to daily life. It can be understood that the relation between social support and perceived stress is more susceptible to negative affect (Civiti A., 2015).

Nearly 49% of all students reported feeling a great deal of stress on a daily basis and 31% reported feeling somewhat stressed. Females reported significantly higher levels of stress than males. 60% vs. 41%. Schoolwork, grades, and college admissions constituted their greatest sources of stress (Cleland, et. at., 2015).

When it comes to the pressures teens face, academics tops the list: 61% of teens say they feel a lot of pressure to get good grades. By comparison, about three-in-ten say they feel a lot of pressure to look good (29%) and to fit in socially (28%), while roughly one-in-five feel similarly pressured to be involved in extracurricular activities and to be good at sports (21% each). And while about half of teens see drug addiction and alcohol consumption as major problems among people their age, fewer than one-in-ten say they personally feel a lot of pressure to use drugs (4%) or to drink alcohol (6%) (Pew Research Center, 2019).

  • Indicators of Stress
  • Emotional Stress
  • Behavioral Stress
  • Effects of Stress

Pre-encoding stress induced changes in perceived stress, blood pressure and cortisol are differentially associated with recollection and familiarity (Hamacher-Dang, et. al., 20??).

MEMORY: CORTISOL: while increasing cortisol during retrieval hinders recall. Furthermore, chronically elevated cortisol levels seem to impair memory. that the level of cortisol itself was not as important as the change in cortisol during memory retrieval. “Our results suggest that persons with stronger basal responses to stress will have more difficulties to recall memories in stressful situations, for example, during exams,” Rasch says (Ackermann, A., et. al., 2013).

Children with the highest levels of stress included less positive emotion, fewer cognitive processing words, provided less information during free recall, and reported less information overall in their narratives. along with our findings, suggest that children who experience extremely high levels of stress may have difficulty processing the event immediately following the traumatic experience or avoid thinking about the event altogether as a way to cope, thereby including less language indicative of emotional and cognitive processing as well as providing less information during free recall and lower recall overall (Bahrick,, 2005).

This study shows that stress before retention testing may impair the retrieval of response memory retrieval in humans (Guenzel ???).

stress and the hormones and neurotransmitters released during and after a stressful event as major modulators of human learning and memory processes, with critical implications for educational contexts (Schwabe, Vogel 2016).

Stress affects academic learning

stress may lead to stronger memories for negative events happening in the classroom, such as failed exams, embarrassing experiences or interpersonal conflicts (e.g., bullying) and these strong negative memories may induce long-lasting frustration and a negative attitude towards school and the individual’s abilities (Schwabe, Vogel 2016).

Stress has been shown to negatively affect learning. Academic burnout is a significant problem associated with poor academic performance. The self-identity stress, interpersonal stress, future development stress, and academic stress could jointly predict student academic burnout (Huag, 2???).

Students have high levels of burnout and that this burnout correlates with self-reported stress levels. Burnout is a “syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment”, and can lead to negative repercussions for the individual experiencing burnout (Goldhagen, 2???).

Early adolescents in the “outgoing” group were characterized by high activity and extroversion and low negative affectivity and shyness/inhibition, while youth in the “inhibited” group were characterized by the opposite pattern. Student heart rate increased while watching the school-related stress video-clip was positively related to students’ grades. Students who felt less threatened by the school related stressor were the ones performing better academically. The ability to effectively regulate psychophysiological arousal in response to emotion-laden situations may serve as a protective factor for students with a temperamental profile that potentially puts them at risk for low academic functioning (Finos, 2018).

  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Student Well-being
  • Stress Reducing Techniques


Lazarus and Folkman (1984) used the term coping to describe the “cognitive and behavioral efforts” a person employs to manage stress, generally categorized as emotion focused or problem focused coping.

Coping is an important construct in understanding how adolescents react to the extensive stressors and adjustments they experience. Coping is a complex construct yet worthy of examination because it can be a critical point of intervention in the health trajectory of adolescents and young people (Garica, C. 2010).


The practice of mindfulness meditation typically consists of initially directing attention to a specific focus, such as the breath, a sensation, a feeling (e.g., loving-kindness), or other attentional “anchor.” As one practices, it becomes apparent that the mind will repeatedly drift off the chosen “anchor” into spontaneously arising thoughts, memories, feelings, or images. Upon noticing this drift, the practitioner brings his/ her attention back repeatedly to the anchor. The intent is not to get rid of thoughts, feelings, or sensations. Rather, it is to cultivate a clearer awareness of direct moment to moment experience with acceptance and a kindly curiosity which is not obscured by judgments about the experience. Noticing whatever arises with a growing degree of acceptance and non-judgment leads to increased clarity and stability of attention and may lead to reduced reactivity in the body’s physiological stress responses (Beigel, G. 2012).

One working definition of mindfulness is a process of openly attending, with awareness, to one’s present moment experience. This process of awareness of present moment experience contrasts with much of our daily life experience, in which we often find ourselves unintentionally letting our minds wander (Killingsworth & Gilbert 2010), running on automatic pilot (Bargh & Chartrand 1999), or suppressing unwanted experiences (Kang et al. 2013). Moreover, the mindless states that predominate in our daily life experience have been demonstrated to be undesirable. For example,one study showed that our minds wander approximately 47% of the time and that mind wandering predicts subsequent unhappiness (Killingsworth & Gilbert 2010). In contrast, the capacity to be mindful is associated with higher well-being in daily life (Brown & Ryan 2003) (Creswell, 2017).

Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness practice can be formal or informal. Mindfulness meditation, which can be practiced sitting, lying down, standing, or moving, refers to the formal practice of intentionally attending to thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and sensory experiences as they arise moment to moment, with acceptance and without getting caught up or identified with thoughts about the experience. Informal mindfulness practice refers to the weaving of mindful awareness into activities of everyday life, such as showering, walking, eating, and interpersonal interactions (Beigel, G. 2012).

Over the last decade, the cultivation of mindfulness has become a common part of the curriculum in classrooms around the world. A recent survey indicates that nearly 50% of teachers are sharing mindfulness with children (Ager, Albrecht., Cohen, (2015).

Benefits of Mindfulness Practices

It is more important for participants to learn how to apply formal mindfulness training skills to stressful or appetitive daily life experiences so that mindfulness skill development can translate into more effective coping (Creswell, 2017).

Mindfulness benefits the whole child the mind, body and emotions and research suggests that mindfulness can affect academic performance, executive functioning, and feelings of connectedness with self, others and the environment. Mindfulness programs such as “Meditation Capsules” can positively impact the wellbeing of student populations in schools. The Meditation Capsules program has been shown to reduce stress, support the development of core character traits such as empathy and awareness of self, others, and the environment, and improve the happiness and wellbeing of students. It may also help to move individuals towards higher levels of wellness, to focus the attention of both the mind and body, and to assist with conflict resolution. Best practice teaching and learning cannot be achieved in fragments, ignoring the unity of the whole child the mind, body and emotions which are essential components of optimal learning. From the students’ perspective, mindfulness experiences seem to unify and bridge the gap between these three dimensions and highlight the need for a holistic outlook when teaching mindfulness (Ager, Albrecht., Cohen, (2015).

MIND WANDERING Mindfulness training led to an enhancement of performance that was mediated by reduced mind wandering among participants who had been prone to mind wandering at pretesting. The practice of mindfulness encouraged in our intervention entailed promoting a persistent effort to maintain focus on a single aspect of experience, particularly sensations of breathing, despite the frequent interruptions of unrelated perceptions or personal concerns. The present findings suggest that when this ability to concentrate is redirected to a challenging task, it can prevent the displacement of crucial task-relevant information by distractions (Baird, et. al. 2015).

Students with learning disabilities (LD; defined by compromised academic performance) often have higher levels of anxiety, school-related stress, and less optimal social skills compared with their typically developing peers. Previous health research indicates that meditation and relaxation training may be effective in reducing anxiety and promoting social skills. This pilot study used a pre post no-control design to examine feasibility of, attitudes toward, and outcomes of a 5-week mindfulness meditation intervention administered to 34 adolescents diagnosed with LD. Postintervention survey responses overwhelmingly expressed positive attitudes toward the program. All outcome measures showed significant improvement, with participants who completed the program demonstrating decreased state and trait anxiety, enhanced social skills, and improved academic performance. Although not directly assessed, the outcomes are consistent with a cognitive-interference model of learning disability and suggest that mindfulness meditation decreases anxiety and detrimental self-focus of attention, which, in turn, promotes social skills and academic outcomes (Beauchemin, Hutchins, Patterson, 2008).

We found specific positive effects of the mindfulness-oriented meditation training in reducing problems associated with ADHD such as inattention. Moreover we also found beneficial effects of both trainings in reducing children’s internalizing problems such as anxiety. However, subjectively, the children in the MOM or control groups did not report better mood or less depressive symptoms after the trainings. The present findings significantly extend prior research on mindfulness-meditation on children’s and adolescents’ psychological health by showing positive effects of a MOM training on the attentional skills, ADHD symptoms and emotional functions of a group of healthy primary school children (Capurso, et. al. 2016).

Meditation training programs for adolescents are predicated on the assumptions that mindfulness and self-compassion can be directly cultivated, and further, that doing so is beneficial for emotional well-being (Galla, 2016).

The adolescents improved their abilities to be present and aware of experiences and emotions as they were happening. Higher scores on the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) have been associated with less reactivity to threatening emotional stimuli; stronger affect regulatory tendencies; greater awareness, understanding and acceptance of emotions; and a greater ability to correct or repair unpleasant mood states. The significant (p < .05) increase in participants’ self compassion following the mindfulness groups is a second critical finding. Participants’ levels of stress did decrease. Their scores on the PSS and Depression subscale of the SCL-90-R dropped significantly (p

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CHAPTER 2 Literature Review In the 21st Century Classroom students. (2019, Dec 16). Retrieved from

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