Managing Stress To Improve Learning

World Education, Inc., and New England Literacy Resource Center

The Managing Stress guide offers holistic guidance and lesson plans for adult education programs to implement to help learners develop social–emotional skills to manage and reach their goals.

What This Includes

Skill addressed: Self-Advocacy, Resilience, Stress-Management, Resourcefulness, Self-Reflection, Systems Thinking, Emotional Literacy, Perseverance

Program and instructor resources

  • Self-assessment tool for programs to promote mental health and stress reduction for learners
  • Instructor-developed lesson plans to address stress with learners
  • Summary article, “Reducing Stress and Promoting Mental Health in the ABE/ESOL Classroom,” with links to resources

Key Takeaways

  • Practitioners’ reading and reflections on trauma-informed adult education programs’ best practices look at the whole program, including designing physical spaces, teaching approaches, and developing curriculum to mitigate stress and improve learning outcomes.
  • In the Tools section, lesson plans for adult education instructors cover ways to address stress, including locating community services and using expressive arts to promote well-being.
  • The research and curriculum available here address the needs of a range of learners, from urban English language learners to rural college transitions students.
  • Programs serving refugees would find benefit in this resource.

The Managing Stress To Improve Learning project of the New England Literacy Resource Center at World Education worked with practitioners in adult basic education programs from 2010 to 2012 to provide learners with resources and activities to reduce stress and improve learning so that they could reach their goals. Using trauma research and theory, mind/body research, expressive arts activities, and community resources connections, practitioners from four New England states worked together with World Education staff and consultants to create curriculum and adapt program and classroom norms to promote resilience, emotional literacy, and stress-management. The findings, tools, and resources on the project page are still relevant for today’s learners, instructors, and programs.

Adaptability & Flexibility

Emotional Intelligence

Navigating & Using Information


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