Pre-service Teachers and Stress During Microteaching: An Experimental Investigation of the Effectiveness of Relaxation Training with Biofeedback on Psychological and Physiological Indices of Stress

Abstract

Pre-service teacher stress is an understudied research area, with the majority of research focusing on subjective reports of stress. The present study sought to examine the influence of stress-reduction techniques on both subjective and objective indicators of stress during microteaching in preservice teachers. A sample of 44 preservice teachers were randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups; biofeedback, relaxation, or control. Participants in the biofeedback group received relaxation-assisted biofeedback training designed to teach participants the physiological signs of the stress response using HeartMath monitor, along with the HeartMath Quick Coherence® technique. Those in the relaxation group were given training in the HeartMath Quick Coherence relaxation technique, with no biofeedback training. Finally, those in the control group did not receive any relaxation or biofeedback training. Using a repeated-measures design, both psychological and physiological indices of stress were measured before and after students engaged in microteaching approaches. Examination of the psychological ratings identified that feelings of calm increased across time; this showed that participants were more comfortable with the microteaching situation with repeated practice. However, none of the physiological interventions were effective in reducing stress. The present study highlights practice as a useful strategy to reduce stress in microteaching situations and points to the importance of employing evidence-based interventions when attempting to reduce stress.

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Funding

This study was not funded by an external agency. Internal seed funding was provided by Mary Immaculate College in order to employ a research assistant for data collection and purchase of the HeartMath monitors.

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Correspondence to Siobhán Howard.

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Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest. The devices were HeartMath monitors were purchased at full cost through the internal funding received from Mary Immaculate College.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Horgan, K., Howard, S. & Gardiner-Hyland, F. Pre-service Teachers and Stress During Microteaching: An Experimental Investigation of the Effectiveness of Relaxation Training with Biofeedback on Psychological and Physiological Indices of Stress. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 43, 217–225 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-018-9401-9

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Keywords

  • Pre-service teachers
  • Stress
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Biofeedback
  • Relaxation