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ED594N Perfectionism: The Anxious Student

Catherine Zink

Course Description: Background and practical strategies of how to support Perfectionist students in the classroom. Explore the link between perfectionism and anxiety, the difference between healthy striving and toxic perfectionism, and myths surrounding perfectionism. Other topics include the perfectionist’s profile, 5 types of perfectionism, causes, and the short-term and long-term effects if not addressed. Strategies address the classroom culture, content specific resources, teacher and student mindset, and specific tips to help perfectionist students manage what many of them describe as “one roller coaster after another.” A list of suggested books to use in the classroom is provided.


  1. Define “perfectionism.”
  2. Describe the characteristics of the 5 types of perfectionists in the classroom setting.
  3. Describe the behavioral tendencies of the 5 types of perfectionists in the classroom setting.
  4. Describe the 7 myths connected to perfectionism and how scientists have debunked these common beliefs.
  5. Apply the “Nature vs. Nurture” argument to suggested causes.
  6. Apply the continuum of behaviors linked with perfectionism to current/past student(s).
  7. Describe the vital role of teacher mindset in supporting perfectionist students.
  8. Recognize the difference between healthy striving and toxic perfectionism.
  9. Apply knowledge of managing the perfectionist students’ tendencies to classroom lessons.
    10. Describe the importance of identifying and addressing the needs of the perfectionist students as it applies to short-term and long-term effects.


Instructional Methods: Readings, reflection, application to future lessons, mindset evaluation, argument defense.



Adelson, J., & Wilson, H. (2021). Letting Go of Perfect. Prufrock Press, Inc.

Affrunti, N.W. (2018). Perfectionism: Helping Handout for School and Home. Retrieved from

“How Perfectionism in Children and Teens Impacts Mental Health.” https:, 22 February 2022,

Newberry, L. (2022). Why the Quest for Academic Perfection is Toxic for Teens. Retrieved from

Smith, A. (2023). 11 Easy Ways to Help Students Manage Perfectionism. Retrieved from

Van Gemert, L. (2019). Perfectionism. Gifted Guru Publishing.

Yassin, F. (2022). Perfectionism in children and Teens. Retrieved from

Zucker, B. (2022). Managing Perfectionism. A Guide for Teens. Retrieved from,have%20a%20more%20balanced%20life.


Course Assignments

  1. Reflection – 20%

Review the characteristics and behavioral tendencies associated with the 5 types of Perfectionists in the classroom. Can you recall a student(s) who may have demonstrated some or many of these characteristics/tendencies? Into which category of the 5 types of perfectionism would you place this student? Why? Share and describe what this “looked like” and its implications on your student’s challenges in the classroom.

  1. Mindset – 20%

    Referring to the student you described in Question #1, how would your

approach differ since taking this course? Was your previous approach          based on one of the 7 myths? Explain. Looking back, what would you change, add, and/or retract to better support your chosen student? How has your mindset changed?

  1. “Nature vs. Nurture” – 20%

Review the “Nature vs. Nurture” information provided in the Power Point, along with the information provided on noted causes of perfectionism in children. Where do you see perfectionism in the “Nature vs. Nurture” debate? Share your thoughts, which may have arguments for both sides, or both. There is NO right or wrong answer, just good reasoning.


  1. Content Specific Application – 20%

Select one of the content specific books, links, or resources.    

How will you use this in your classroom to support a classroom culture that allows students to feel comfortable making mistakes and learning from them.


  1. Strategies – 20%

Select one of the strategies provided in the Power Point, and share how you will implement this strategy in your classroom.



What is Perfectionism?                                                                                        


Five Types of Perfectionism (characteristics)


Five Types of Perfectionism (behavioral tendencies)


Causes of Perfectionism and “How Did We Get Here?”


Perfectionism and Mental Health


Seven Myths Associated with Perfectionism and how

Scientists Have Debunked these Beliefs (research included)


“Nature vs. Nurture” and Perfectionism


Continuum of Behaviors Applied to Current/Former Students


Role of Teacher Mindset in Supporting Perfectionist Students


The difference Between Healthy Striving and Toxic Perfectionism


Strategies to Manage Perfectionist Students in the Classroom


Communicating At-Home Strategies to Parents


The Importance of identifying and addressing Perfectionism in the

Classroom/Short-term and Long-Term Effects


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