Did you know that when people are stressed and have a lot of mental noise their ability to process information can be reduced up to 80%? This means that who are students stressed out about things like a parent losing a job, Satisfactory Academic Progress notification, or a scholarship that has not been disbursed may not be able to take in all the information when you speak to them in your office.
In fact, studies by Dr. Vincent Covello, a behavioral, neuro and visual scientist who has studied stress extensively, indicate that people who are stressed:
- tend to remember most what they hear first and last
- understand information at 4 grade levels below their educational level
- actively look for visual/graphic information to support verbal messages
- Need 3-4 positives to overcome 1 negative
His research, as well as others, points out that typically people who are stressed have difficulty hearing, understanding and remembering information.
What can you do? Use effective communication techniques. You can communicate negative or difficult messages to be heard without creating additional conflict.
What does it take? Active listening, paying attention to both your and your student’s nonverbal communication, and managing your own stress (especially when your student exaggerates or makes false accusations).