Coping with Stress

Coping with Stress

Roriann Smith

Social Science

Intro to psychology

Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity

This was a two-part assignment where students had to first write a self-reflection essay detailing a personal experience with stress. They were required to describe the specific situation, discuss their emotional responses to the stressful event, and the coping mechanisms they employed to manage the stress, providing details on which strategies were effective and which were not. Additionally, students needed to analyze how psychological theories and concepts discussed in class aligned with or differed from their personal experiences. They were also asked to consider how cultural practices, traditions, and/or historical events may have contributed to their response to the stressful situation.

For the second part of the assignment, in groups of 4-5 students, each group had to select and discuss two anonymous students' stressful experiences from part one. The groups were then tasked with brainstorming a range of applicable coping mechanisms, drawing from both personal experiences and researched strategies, including local resources geared towards stress management. Using the information gathered, students were asked to create a compelling podcast episode, television show segment, or radio show where they engaged in a reflective dialogue concerning the assigned reflection essays, encouraged alternative coping mechanisms, and presented local resources as viable solutions. The show could be prerecorded or live.

Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

The main goals of this assignment were to:
• Understand Stress and Emotional Responses:
o I want students to develop a deeper understanding of personal emotional responses to stress and the factors that trigger these responses.
• Critical Reflection and Analysis:
o This assignment would allow students to cultivate critical reflection skills by analyzing personal experiences and comparing them with established psychological theories and concepts.
• Public Speaking and Presentation:
o Students would improve public speaking and presentation skills through the creation and delivery of the podcast or show.
• Empathy and Support:
o Another goal was to encourage empathy and support within the group by discussing and reflecting on peers’ stressful experiences and suggesting helpful coping mechanisms.

Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

The first part of the assignment was done within the first month of the beginning of the semester. Part 2 was due on the last day of classes. Students were given 30 minutes on three separate days to work with their groups on the project. Depending on the scope of students’ projects, the out-of-class time varied.

Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

Due to the complexity, the depth of knowledge and skills required, and its impact on students' grades this assignment is high stakes. The assignment requires a detailed self-reflection that involves personal introspection, analysis of emotional responses, coping mechanisms, and alignment with psychological theories which requires significant effort and understanding. The second part involves group work involving a collaborative element that requires coordination, communication, and cooperation among group members. Creating a podcast episode, television show segment, or radio show involves content creation, technical skills, creativity, and public presentation abilities which demands substantial time and effort. The assignment integrates various skills such as critical thinking, research, public speaking, empathy, and cultural awareness. The comprehensive nature of the task suggests a higher level of difficulty.

Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

The first part of the assignment was assessed using the Writing VALUE rubric. For the second part of the assignment, I developed a custom rubric by incorporating elements from the Information Literacy, Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Integrative Learning, and Oral Communication VALUE rubrics.

Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?

This assignment was quite successful in my class, so I plan to repeat it. Although I didn’t encounter any major challenges, providing students with an example to follow could help them generate ideas more easily. Additionally, I would allocate more class time for students to work on their projects, as some groups had difficulty coordinating due to conflicting schedules. Students seemed to enjoy the production part of the assignment, and some groups wished they had been more creative after seeing other groups’ projects.

Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.

Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab

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