Remember the times you had to present on some topic or a book in front of your class? You know, those ten to twenty minutes of unease, fear and worry that something will go wrong or that someone will trample your vulnerable public presentation with a question you can’t answer because you’re too worried you’ll forget how words work?
Well, that feeling is somewhat universal, but it becomes a bigger problem for those who have inherent issues with anxiety. One such lad recently took to Twitter to propose that people with anxiety shouldn’t have to present in front of classes, pointing out that there are alternatives to how this can be managed, subsequently launching a debate online.
Presentations in front of the class are hard as it is and it’s even harder for those with anxiety
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A Twitter user by the name of Jordan (@bluexmasgcv) recently ranted that those who suffer from anxiety shouldn’t be required to present in front of the class.
Jordan continued that he himself was lucky enough to have a teacher who was understanding enough to let him present privately, thus reducing the amount of stress and fear involved in the process, but schools should seriously consider providing some alternative ways for anxious kids to submit their projects without getting their points deducted for being uncontrollably anxious during the whole thing.
So, this Twitter user suggested that schools shouldn’t force anxious people to present in front of class
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For those unaware of what it feels like to have an anxiety disorder, consider this: imagine feeling an unrelenting sense of dread and fear all the time because of being convinced that whatever you do has a high chance of failing and you will be punished for it or it will cause harm to you, spiraling down an endless hole of anxious intrusive thoughts that leave you drained pretty much all the time.
This is just the gist of what’s going through an anxious person’s mind. The experience may vary, but the feeling is uneasy and often unending in many cases.
This prompted quite a discussion amongst commenters. On the one hand, people were agreeing that forcing someone with an anxiety disorder is counterproductive. It may not in fact leave them with a sense of accomplishment and boost their confidence but rather break them down even more because they will not feel understood or empathized with.
The tweet thread sparked a deabate with people on one side agreeing with Jordan
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Others pointed out that there is also the problem with teachers simply not caring about the well-being of their students and responding with negative reinforcement like giving a bad grade or even yelling at the students for not presenting. This subsequently leads to even greater anxiety.
There were people who, however, disagreed with this. For one, public speaking is an invaluable skill that does actually reinforce in positive ways—the aforementioned self-esteem boost and empowering people to express themselves in proper ways are just a few examples.
Also, getting rid of the requirement for people to present just because someone has anxiety isn’t tackling the issue at hand—the presentation is a thing that the person perceives as the source of fear, but in reality it’s their own perception that is causing them anxiety, so dealing with this toxic view of things would be the effective way of dealing with the problem.
Others, on the other hand, disagreed as public speaking is an important skill to have
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Some even touched upon how things like speech impediments might make the issue even more problematic as, for the most part, people stress because of the speech impediment and they can’t get rid of it to relieve their anxiety when speaking in public to make their speech better, consequently putting them into a vicious loop that some teachers might not understand and still dock points for, further reinforcing the problem.
The issue is obviously nowhere near one-sided as there are many nuances and factors involved and more than one solution to the problem. However, regardless, it is important to consider that ignoring mental disorders is never an option as it is estimated that nearly 40 million people in the United States—18%—experience an anxiety disorder in any given year, and the wrong means of dealing with it may likely cause a rise in this percentage.
There were also people who pointed out how it’s even harder for those with speech impediments
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Here’s what the rest of the internet had to say about it
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The tweet drew quite a bit of attention, getting over 159,000 likes in just a day. The tweet was retweeted over 28,000 times with 3,500 quoted tweets.
What are your thoughts on this? Did you enjoy speaking in front of the class, or was it also overly stress inducing? Let us know in the comment section below.