Stress in higher education: a study of mismatched instruction as a contributing factor in female Emirati undergraduate students

Usama ALAlami, Mahaba Al-Saleh, Tofi Rahal


Dunn and Dunn (1992) have proposed that “given responsive environments, students attain statistically higher achievement and aptitude test scores in matched, rather than mismatched treatments”. Therefore, matching educational settings and activities to students' learning preferences and strengths places them within their academic comfort zone, which leads to an increase in their academic motivation and achievement. Conversely, this paper proposes that a continuing mismatch between educational settings/activities and learning preferences/strengths may frustrate students and put them at a disadvantage which results in a higher level of anxiety and stress.  The aim of this project is to study the relationship between learning styles, teaching methods and level of students’ stress. More specifically, the effect of mismatched instruction on students’ stress levels was investigated, and found to increase both physiological and psychological indicators of stress.

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