Reflecting about my fall classes at the end of the semester, I always am looking for methods that will enhance both management and instruction for the next semester. Sometimes lack of classroom civility can undermine both management and instruction.
All of us have pet peeves relating to classroom civility. An issue that is frequently a “burr under the saddle” of most professors is students’ use of cell phones and other devices during class. No matter what our classroom expectations for student behavior, here are some general guidelines that can add to your strategies for success. Following the guidelines are e-resources for maintaining a civil classroom.
The first rule of classroom management is prevention. If there are practices that are not acceptable in your classroom, inform students on the first day both orally and in writing. You can post them in your classroom, put them on the syllabus, or remind students at the beginning of the second class. And, be certain students understand the consequences of their actions.
The second rule of thumb is consistency. If student behavior violates your rule, address every instance in a decisive and timely manner. Follow through with stated consequences–no exceptions.
Third, deal with each violation privately or in a discreet manner if possible. Causing a student to “lose face” in front of classmates can have detrimental effects on the student, your class, and the rest of the day’s instruction.
If the problem is with electronic or other objects not permitted in class, such as cell phones or calculators during exams, collect them at the door before class begins.
Check with your colleagues to see how they deal with these issues.
A website with suggestions for setting class rules and handling incivility http://ctl.ucsc.edu/resources/tips/tips-civility.html
This site includes an annotated list of references relating to civility in the classroom http://www.tc3.edu/instruct/sbrown/fac/civilbib.htm
Another site with good ideas for promoting civility in the classroom http://tinyurl.com/fsucivility