Biography Professor Emeritus of Psychology, MCCC Author of several books and numerous articles; regular contributor to The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Latest books: see slide towards end of presentation National Consultant on Teaching and Learning Issues; Trainer for Transformation Associates, LLC Web site: address:
Objectives Create a positive tone at the start of the semester Prevent disruptive behavior from occurring in the first place Handle side conversations Manage technology-related disruptive behaviors such as cell phones Prevent violations of academic integrity Deal with incivilities should they occur
Question What is the number one classroom behavior issue that you hope to manage more effectively?
Create a positive tone at the start of the semester The task of the first day is to begin to create a climate in which all students feel welcome The most important goal for the first day is to have students leave with a desire to come back
Create a positive tone at the start of the semester even in large classes
Create a positive tone at the start of the semester Getting students to want to return to the next class involves students feeling that the teacher is approachable the beginning of a sense of community with their classmates, and students believing that the course is worthwhile and that they can succeed in it
Managing Disruptive Behavior by Creating a Positive Tone Research shows that disruptive behavior is more likely to occur in authoritarian classroom settings It is important from Day 1 to create a warm, inclusive classroom atmosphere The first day of class is the most important day of the semester
Managing Disruptive Behavior by Creating a Positive Tone Some time should be devoted to learning students’ names and getting students to meet one another Introducing yourself in a way that makes you seem approachable is crucial
Creating a Positive Tone – Introducing Yourself
Warming the Classroom Environment Build rapport with students by: greeting them before each class begins use students’ names to boost their self- esteem invite students to visit your office show your caring and interest in students’ lives and in their learning use humor where appropriate to create informality
Warming the Classroom Environment
Preventing Disruptive Behavior Distribute a handout about appropriate classroom behavior on the first day of class (or include a statement in the syllabus). Either tell students you would like their input, or have the students create the guidelines sheet (See “The Classroom as a Learning Community” guidelines sheet)
Preventing Disruptive Behavior The handout needs to be non-authoritarian but very clear regarding your attendance policy, lateness to class policy, respecting everyone’s opinions in class and respecting one another, cell phone policy, no-talking while someone else is talking, etc.
Preventing Disruptive Behavior Word the statement in a positive way rather than telling students what “not” to do Clearly state the norms for class discussion, as for example, respecting each other’s opinions
Preventing Disruptive Behavior Create an atmosphere in which it is acceptable to disagree, always respectfully If a student makes a potentially hurtful remark, intervene by “depersonalizing” the remark and processing the issue so that all students feel protected
What To Do With Side Conversations Establish eye contact with the talkers Move close to where the talkers are speaking Remind students that only one person speaks at a time in the classroom
What To Do With Side Conversations Speak to the talkers privately after class explaining that you understand it is difficult to stay quiet for a long period of time but that you and their classmates are distracted by their talking Ask students to write something down related to the course
Tips to Prevent Classroom Incivility Use your referent and expert power by knowing the content, modeling appropriate behavior, defining “appropriate” behavior, and by being available and approachable to students Use the classroom dynamics to empower students and ensure that they all feel valued
Tips to Prevent Classroom Incivility Develop a student behavior policy Provide a syllabus that makes expectations and student evaluation policies clear In the syllabus, emphasize what students should do or how they should behave rather than what not to do and explain how this relates to student success. Have disclaimers such as “This syllabus is subject to change.” SUMMARY OF SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE VIDEO SATELLITE BROADCAST “Coping with classroom incivilities: Nanny for the professor” Presenters: Stacie R. Chismark, Lara Duvall, Mia Alexander-Snow, Moderator: Bob Ray Sanders SUMMARY OF SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE VIDEO SATELLITE BROADCAST “Coping with classroom incivilities: Nanny for the professor” Presenters: Stacie R. Chismark, Lara Duvall, Mia Alexander-Snow, Moderator: Bob Ray Sanders
Tips to Prevent Classroom Incivility Develop student contracts and have students sign them Students can participate in the development of the behavior policy SUMMARY OF SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE VIDEO SATELLITE BROADCAST “Coping with classroom incivilities: Nanny for the professor” Presenters: Stacie R. Chismark, Lara Duvall, Mia Alexander-Snow, Moderator: Bob Ray Sanders SUMMARY OF SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE VIDEO SATELLITE BROADCAST “Coping with classroom incivilities: Nanny for the professor” Presenters: Stacie R. Chismark, Lara Duvall, Mia Alexander-Snow, Moderator: Bob Ray Sanders
More Tips for Preventing Incivility Restrain talkers and stalkers: Set boundaries from the beginning and respect those boundaries at all times Don’t let students be rude to each other “We’re here to discuss everyone’s ideas.”
More Tips for Preventing Incivility Gracefully get the class monopolizers to stop talking by complimenting them: “You’re ahead of me” “I can tell you have given this some thought” Does anyone else have some thoughts on this?” “Very interesting point – we can come back to it, but have to move on now”
More Tips for Preventing Incivility Cultural perceptions shaped by stereotypes and social power are reflected in social interaction and may influence classroom incivility Students and faculty assess each other in terms of cultural perceptions. Be sensitive to how you perceive your students and how they might perceive you based on gender, race/ethnicity, age, class, etc.
Scenario for Discussion A student in your class makes a remark that you interpret as racist or reflecting ethnic prejudice, or a remark that is sexist, classist, ageist, or homophobic. How can you use the remark as a springboard to enlighten the class? In other words, what strategies can you offer that could turn the remark into a “teachable moment?”
Academic Integrity Issues
Preventing and Responding to Violations of Academic Integrity Explain academic integrity in your course syllabus and in your first or second class of the semester; discuss the college policy and your expectations Give examples of violations Be clear as to the consequences of violations both in writing and verbally in class See “50 Classroom Activity Ideas” in Promoting Academic Integrity in the Classroom, U. of South Carolina
Preventing and Responding to Violations of Academic Integrity Remind students periodically about academic integrity, particularly before exams and when papers are due Create assignments that preclude the possibility of “cheating” Divide research papers into smaller steps or assign shorter papers Know ahead of time what your limits/policies are going to be with regards to cheating and apply them equitably
Preventing and Responding to Violations of Academic Integrity Have students write about material directly related to the course content and offer required source materials Use their writing/research in course discussions and on tests Meet with students to discuss their research Have students submit packets of their source materials Sterngold, A. (2004)
Strategies For Dealing With Incivilities After They Occur: Address incivilities when they occur: warning forms, documentation, reflective listening Do not become angry or defensive and give students a chance to express themselves as long as they are doing so respectfully, acknowledge the students’ feelings, be willing to apologize (I am sorry that you are struggling with so much on your plate)
Strategies For Dealing With Incivilities After They Occur: Body language is important: maintain eye contact and an open posture Empathy is important for positive outcomes. Let the students know that you are on their side and tell them that you want them to succeed
Strategies For Dealing With Incivilities After They Occur: Ask students exactly what it is that they are upset about and ask them to suggest a solution to the problem that is fair to everyone involved (including the other students in the class) Remind students of policies and accommodations that you or the college make that may make their situation better
Dealing With the “New” Students’ Misbehaviors Cell Phones Text Messaging Using Laptops for communicating with others or for playing games Misusing the Professor’s or telephone availability Teaching Etiquette
The “old” and the “new” New challenges The old days…
Responses To Overt Incivilities: Using reflective listening techniques Do not become defensive Reflect back on your understanding of the problem, restating it for the students to let them know that you are trying to understand the problem It is never appropriate to respond to disrespectful behavior with disrespectful behavior. Be calm.
Responses To Overt Incivilities: Talk with the student privately but not in an isolated place If the incident occurs in the classroom, reassure the rest of the class that you will not allow their learning environment to be compromised (after the student has left the room)
Responses To Overt Incivilities: You are not perfect. If you behaved badly, apologize, and assure students that it will not happen again Along with the faculty, the institution has a responsibility to diminish the occurrences of incivilities
Adding Tools to Your Trade/Art Think about a time when you had a problematic situation in class. How would you handle it now based on what you have learned?
Angela’s most recent books by Atwood Publishing, ,
References Coping with classroom incivilities: Nanny for the professor” a satellite video broadcast, (Oct. 20, 2005) Presenters: Stacie R. Chismark, Lara Duvall, Mia Alexander- Snow, Moderator: Bob Ray Sanders, STARLINK Web Seminar Manning, T., Everett, B. & Roberts, C. (2006).The Millennial Generation: The Next Generation in College Enrollment, Starlink Presentation (New Standards for the New Student) McGlynn, A.P. (2007). Teaching Today’s College Students: Widening the Circle of Success, Atwood Publishing.
References McGlynn, A.P. (2001) Successful Beginnings for College Teaching: Engaging your students from the first day, Atwood Publishing. Oblinger, D.G., & Oblinger, J.L. (2005). Educating the net generation (On-line) Oblinger, D.G. (2003) Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials: Understanding the new students. Educause Review, 38,
References Sterngold, A. (2004). Confronting plagiarism: How conventional thinking invites cyber-cheating, Change, May/June, Top 10 Tips for Addressing Sensitive Topics and Maintaining Civility in the Classroom, Faculty Focus, June 24, By the Center for Teaching and Faculty Development at San Francisco State University University of South Carolina: Office of Academic Integrity, “Promoting Academic Integrity in the Classroom,” available at:
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