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Old 07-21-2001, 02:37 PM   #6
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
Location: Maplewood, Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 137
Square Re: Testing students with extreme anxiety

Originally posted by MikeE
I was wondering how you instructors out there deal with students that have extreme test anxiety. I just spot promoted one of my long-term students because she won't show up on test dates. When I talked to her about it, she said it is a deep rooted fear that she has had since she was young. She has an extreme phobia and I don't feel that I am qualified to be the catalyst that cures her by forcing her to test.

Has anyone (teacher or student) had to deal with a situation like this? How did you handle it?
Mike -
Here at AIMA we keep track of hours with the understanding that these are minimums, not maximums. Thus even the most anxious students have plenty of time to work this out.

I realize from you statement the woman says she has test anxiety. Does she drive? Because if she does, she has had to take a driver's examination, hence giving the lie to her statement (or at least modifying it). Sometimes what passes for test anxiety is an over developed sense of needing to be perfect.

Spot promoting her is okay, and I understand your desire not to be her therapist, however, try this perspective for a minute.
Would this woman be able to meet an aggressor in a "real" attack situation? She may need to confront this possibility and come to the understanding that an Aikido examination, while stressful, is nowhere nearly as dangerous to her confidence than "freezing".

Good luck. Just go ahead and double or triple the number of hours for her next rank over everyone else. That way you can rest assured she at least has mastered the skills.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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