Fear in the Midst of Education

Many parents worry about their child’s fear about going to school, which arises concerns about the child’s education, and sometimes this leads to issues such as trust with regard to teachers.

Psychologists have identified the fear of going to school as ‘a psychological issue’ this is evident in children who refuse to go to school without any reason, thus effecting the child’s academic capacity to fall below average.

The International Media Center focuses on this issue and seeks to find solutions through some experts in the field of education.


Some teachers are part of the problem

Muhammad Abu Noor, father of an elementary school girl, says, “My daughter Noor had always loved school and used to wake up early to get herself ready. However, a few days after the beginning of the new school year, she complained that a teacher was treating her unkindly, whereas other teachers treated her kindly and motivated her to continue studying.”

Middle school English teacher Sadiq Mahdi clarifies the role of the teaching staff in reducing the student’s fears: “I believe that elementary school students are more afraid about going to school than other age groups due to the sudden change in their environment. The young ones go from being at home with their family to being at school with students and teachers. Teachers here have a vital role to reduce the students’ fear through making them feel like they’re at home and amongst their family members.”

Mahdi continued: “The first impression of the young student with regard to the teachers will influence the child’s feelings towards the school in general. A teacher should be like a parent to a student in order to decrease the psychological pressures on the new student and that will lead to his acceptance of the new environment.”

“The teacher may be part of the problem if he/she follows a strict teaching method which leads to the loss of a relationship between the student and the school.”

An English language teacher lists the main obstacles that stand in the way of this relationship:

1- Focusing solely on a child whilst ignoring other children.

2- Strict method of teaching and interaction with students.

3-Teacher is biased towards particular students.

4- Teacher mocks students.

The teaching staff should help students overcome their fears of going to school and to achieve good grades.


The family and school have a role

Teacher Muhammed Yahya says, “Parents play a huge role to encourage their children to attend school because students sometimes find difficulties in accepting their new environment, which forces them to be away from home for many hours. Parents should use physical force on their children if they get low grades or fail in a test but should rather encourage them to do better through gifts and surprises.”


The mother is the first solution

“The mother is the primary solution to this phenomenon as she is able to communicate with her child better than the father and teacher,” says head of the Family Guidance Center, Dr. Huda Abbas.

“The mother ought to make clear to her child the importance of education and support her child to make new friends.”


Psychological views and answers

It is very important to get the opinion of experts in this field. We asked an expert in psychological behaviour of adults and children, Dr. Mai Medhat, who published her view on various sources saying that there are many ways to follow to reduce the ‘fear of school’. The child should be taught to speak to his parents about the day at schools and about any problem that might have occurred in class or not. This method will instil trust in the child’s self, making him/her feel like they are becoming an adult. In addition, parents should discuss any problem the child may have at school with the school’s administration.

 “The teacher plays a vital role in solving this problem in our society and can earn the child’s trust by cooperating with the student in daily classroom activities. The teacher must not shout at any student under any circumstance whatsoever, as this is a major issue that ignites fear in the heart of a child,” said Dr.Medhat.

Meanwhile, Psychologist Dr. Ashraf al-Salhi adds that there are two main points that parents should follow:

1- Connect with teaching staff: Parents should always be in contact with their child’s teachers and discuss any change in his/her behaviour.

2- Connect with the child’s doctor: Some children develop physical and emotional symptoms, leading to anxiety and depression. Parents should discuss these issues with their child’s doctor. A regular check up by a psychologist for all children is important.