Most people think of unruly students in terms of middle or high school, but adult students are capable of disrupting a class with rudeness and animosity toward the instructor and classmates (Rodriguez, n.d.). These instances are not frequent, but preventative measures can be taken to avoid problems. Keeping a record of student behavior when issues arise is a good idea. “A rule of thumb for faculty is to keep current policies regarding student and faculty interactions as well as the role of your teaching assistants, if you have one. Know your college and state policy on student conduct” (Rodriguez, n.d., para. 4).
Prevention is also recommended by the UNC Center for Faculty Excellence (2004). The Center suggests that students become dissatisfied when they perceive that the instructor’s expectations are not clear or they are unfair. Three major complaints of students are vague or unfair grading scales, unclear assignment grading, and no attendance, make-up exam, or late assignment policies (UNC Center for Faculty Excellence, 2004). A comprehensive, clear syllabus and distributed policies can solve this problem. Grading rubrics are also very precise and effective. Collaboration between students is a useful strategy for creating a cohesive class (UNC Center for Faculty Excellence, 2004). The instructor’s attitude is a major factor as well. A positive, friendly, and professional demeanor will set the tone for the class.
An excellent site for higher education classroom management resources was developed by Michigan State University’s Office of Faculty and Organizational Development. It can be found @ http://fod.msu.edu/oir/classmanagement/civility-incivility.asp.
The Pennsylvania Association of Higher Education (PAHE) website offers links to best practices for faculty. Many articles are available that can help instructors become more effective and knowledgeable about their teaching practice. A confident, knowledgeable, and well-rounded instructor may be in an effectual position to prevent and handle classroom issues. The PAHE website is available @ http://www.psea.org/higher_ed.aspx?coll_id=60.
Classroom management is a critical factor for faculty. An instructor’s credibility depends on his or her ability to effectively manage a classroom. Many resources exist for becoming familiar with classroom management techniques.
Rodriquez, L. (n.d.). Classroom management. Retrieved from
UNC Center for Faculty Excellence.(2004, November). For your consideration…Suggestions
and reflections on teaching and learning. Retrieved from