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Emotional safety during examinations

Mid-year exams have begun and with crunch time comes emotional upheaval. However, it is manageable and should not deter you from the end-goal of succeeding in your studies while maintaining high mental health standards.

“The exam period is a time when stress and anxiety levels are higher than usual. Stress can be positive and help you stay motivated and focused. However, too much stress can be unhelpful and can make you feel overwhelmed, confused, exhausted and edgy,” says Dr Melissa Barnaschone, Director of Student Counselling and Development at the University of the Free State (UFS).

According to Helpguide.Org: Trusted guide to mental & emotional health, “Mental and emotional health is about being happy, self-confident, self-aware, and resilient. People who are mentally healthy are able to cope with life’s challenges and recover from setbacks. But mental and emotional health requires knowledge, understanding, and effort to maintain. If your mental health isn’t as solid as you’d like it to be, here’s the good news: there are many things you can do to boost your mood, build resilience, and get more enjoyment out of life.”

For further details on topics including: Building Better Mental Health, Emotional Intelligence Toolkit, Benefits of Mindfulness, Improving Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Cultivating Happiness, visit the Help Guide. 

Dr Barnaschone has a few tips on how Kovsies can better approach academic anxiety during the examination period. Here is what she has to say:

News Archive

Teacher professionalism and status under Commonwealth radar
2010-03-26

 
From the left are: Ms Simone De Cormarmond, Chairperson: Commonwealth Foundation; Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, University of the Free State (UFS); Mr Samuel Isaacs, CEO: SAQA; and Dr Carol Anne Spreen, Lecturer at the University of Maryland, USA).
Photo: Ian van Straaten


International delegates attending the 5th Annual Commonwealth Teacher Research Symposium held at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein this week unanimously agreed that more research still had to be done on issues of recognition, registration and standards affecting teachers and teaching across Commonwealth countries.

This two-day gathering of researchers, officials and representatives of regional international organisations and higher education institutions agreed that issues of teacher migration, the professionalism of teachers, teacher preparation and the use of teaching standards, as well as the comparability and recognition of teacher qualifications should be further researched.

The delegates agreed on the following based on the research and data that were presented and shared with all the participants:

Teacher migration is recognised as an increasing global phenomenon that requires ongoing research in the Commonwealth.
Recognising that inequalities and differences within and across Commonwealth countries exist, and considering that fair and ethical treatment in the international recruitment of teachers is an important cornerstone of the Commonwealth Teacher Recruitment Protocol.

Teacher training, the recognition of teacher qualifications, the professional registration of teachers and the development of professional teacher standards should be actively encouraged through ongoing pan-Commonwealth research.

An increased acknowledgement of the role of the professionalisation of teachers through an improved understanding of teacher qualifications and standards.
There should be a specific research focus on teacher preparation and the use of teaching standards.

An increased comparability and recognition of teacher qualifications across Commonwealth countries should be actively encouraged.
Advocacy of teachers’ rights, effective protection of the vulnerable teacher, and appropriate strategies should be promoted to uplift the status of teachers and teaching as a profession.

The Commonwealth Teacher Recruitment Protocol, amongst other things, aims to balance the rights of teachers to migrate internationally against the need to protect the integrity of national education systems, and to prevent the exploitation of the scarce human resources of poor countries.

Delivering his keynote address at the symposium, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, decried the quality of professional qualifications in South Africa.

“We have become very good at manufacturing outcomes. We actually have become very good at giving an impression of having achieved particular outcomes without having achieved them at all,” he said.
“So what does it mean to talk about outcomes in an unequal country with unequal resources? What does it mean to talk about qualifications when we do not trust the outcomes?”

He suggested that the teaching profession should be subjected to a peer review mechanism and that the practice of setting minimum standards should be dealt away with because it results in minimum outcomes.

Dr Carol Anne Spreen, lecturer at the University of Maryland in the USA, proposed that countries should improve the quality of their own teachers instead of importing teachers from other countries.

The research symposium was organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and hosted by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the UFS.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
26 March 2010

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