CHAIN OF AFFECTION
Exam stress can be dreadful
The times I have heard good hardworking students say this, is innumerable: «after all that work my mind just went totally blank and that was the end of it!» Which is one of the reasons why I got more and more involved with Emotional intelligence activities in the classroom, and Mindfulness practices as a result of all the research.
To do this activity you might like to have had your students trained gradually before as this might feel «a bit too much» to some. The proposal is to build up a sense of belonging and significance, destress the classroom and generate a warm feeling of security before the exam, in a non-punitive environment.
Place your group up forming two concentric circles and tell them there will be some music played at some time. The students in the inner circle will stay still at all times keeping their eyes closed. When the music is heard the students in the outer circle move to one side (all right or all left) until the music stops. At this point one student in the inner circle will be facing one student in the outer circle. With their eyes wide open now the student in the inner circle will signal «one» or «two» with their fingers, one meaning a hug, two meaning two kisses on both cheeks as the Spanish do.
This action is repeated until all the students in the inner circle have had a chance to face up the ones in the outer circle.
This exercise can be enhanced by a previous brief Mindfulness practice to help students «arrive» and get rooted to the present moment.
La vida, sin prisa