8 CLOSING UP
Be Mindful is an 8-week program to help students cope with test anxiety.
We seem to have come to the final session where I would like to narrate what we have been trying to learn since we first met for session one. The intention of this «Be Mindful» proposal has been to give L2 students skills for developing their ability to focus and concentrate when they have this feelings of being out of focus, of anxiety and/or frustration before – during- after their public speaking examination. The acquisition of these preventive skills will be of interesting use and can be applied as well to a variety of scenarios in their academic life and also out of their academic life as the trainees admitted after the original implementation program.
The first step is to fully understand why we are doing all this, as it was described in the opening session «from doing to being». To build up our concentration skills we need to realise that to be able to sit still and concentrate we first need to be able to stop and sometimes we are not capable of doing that. We find it difficult and at times impossible to go from doing things 24/7 to simply «being», which is why we have been offered some befriending silence practices. Once accustomed and not uncomfortable with sitting still in silence for a few minutes «doing nothing» we will be fully prepared to grow more aware of what is happening around and inside of us through focusing-on-breathing techniques.
Mastering these focus-on-breathing practices will lead us to begin paying attention to and managing our feelings of stress or anxiety through observation of what is happening around and inside of us: attention regulation and emotion regulation techniques.
Be Mindful activities climax in session five when students reach the important meeting with the examiners (to deliver their monologues and dialogues) where they will now be able to overcome those «unwanted guests» that most unexpectedly block their progress.
A set of follow-up activities finally complement this Be Mindful proposal for L2 students learning how to manage stress during exam time, which focus on growing more resilient towards failure and exercising less self-criticism actions to increase productivity.
Emotional Intelligence practices have proven hugely effective with Primary to Baccalaureate pupils, and the fact that Mindfulness interventions and programs are also being carried out at prestigious universities gives us good evidence of the positive impact these learning strategies can have on adult education schools whatever the discipline, language, art, sport, etc.
more on how teachers can help students reduce test anxiety (here)