Students Behaving Badly? What to do.
The University of New Hampshire's 2005-06 Handbook of Student Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities alludes to “rules to guide you and help you make the most of” academic opportunities. The document, it is claimed, “clearly outlines the expectations that the University has for its community members so that an environment conducive to learning will flourish on, and beyond, the University campus.” In fact, the rules stated in the Handbook make no reference to classroom behaviors, responsibilities, or expectations, and it is only by inference that one draws a connection between the overall “environment conducive to learning” and the learning environments created by faculty within their courses and their classrooms.
While the lack of a clear and detailed set of rules governing students' behavior within their courses puts the onus on faculty to establish classroom rules, it also gives them the freedom to set forth policies that are consistent with their philosophies of teaching, and at the same time are protective of the right all students have to a learning environment that is not compromised by the outlandish or uncivil behavior of a few. However, anecdotal reports suggest that UNH, like many universities today, has seen a rise in student behavior that ranges from irritating to annoying to rude to distracting to disruptive.
Below is a list of resources which both highlight the problem and offer suggestions for dealing with it. Among the themes that emerge from these sites are:
- Classroom rules, guidelines, and policies must be put in writing (preferably in the syllabus) and clearly explained . Students don't necessarily have prior knowledge of what behaviors are inappropriate, rude, or disruptive.
- A classroom that is orderly and managed to maximize student learning is a student right, and most students appreciate it when the instructor protects that right.
- Faculty have to model the behavior they expect from students.
“What's a Professor to Do?: Tips for Addressing Rude and Disruptive Behavior”
Baruch College Faculty Handbook: Classroom Management
"When New Teachers Meet the Classroom Terrorist: Cognitive Process for Dealing with Troublesome Students"
“Missed Expectations: Incivility in the Classroom
“Reducing Incivility in the University/College Classroom”
“Academic Integrity: A Letter to My Sudents
“Contract on Classroom Behavior”