To shake things up a bit, Mr. A told us last week that there would be a quiz on chapters 1-6. Since this hasn't been a very text-intesive course, this perplexed a few of us. When we came to class today, he announced that the quiz was open-book and we had only 15 minutes. Panic ensued. The time deadline combined with, ironically, the open-book format (it constrains you rather than letting you reflect) created a real sense of anxiety. At the end of the 15 minutes, he had us break into our groups and compare our quizzes. We had a good time arguing over any disparities we had.
Although in the end he said he would grade the quizzes, it was all an exercise in experiencing tests and pressure. Someday we'll be the ones up there passing out the dreaded test sheets. Teachers would do well to remember that their job isn't to trip students up or make them feel pressured, but to help them learn. A few positive words of encouragement and a relaxed atmosphere just might do wonders for both the teachers' stress levels and the students' performance.