Problamtic Student behaviour and How to Tackle It


Address disruptive student behavior.

In both the classroom and society, reports of problematic behaviors are increasing nationally.

These “classroom incivilities” or immature, grating, or careless actions include:.

  • Being late or leaving too soon.
  • Use of a laptop and a phone while in class is inappropriate.
  • Side conversations.
  • Disregard for time limits.
  • Grade rubbing.
  • Rude comments.
  • Cheating.

These actions not only irritate teachers; they also come at a price, such as:.

  • Causing a distraction in class for the teacher and other students.
  • Lowering student participation levels.
  • Reducing both the instructor’s and other students’ motivation in and outside the classroom.
  • Affecting the fairness of the grading process.
  • Wasting instructor or TA time.
  • Feeling degraded as a teacher or other authority figure.

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Possible causes.

It’s critical to comprehend the causes and facilitators of these behaviors to control or effectively manage them.

One possible cause is:.

  • Depending on the circumstances of each student.
  • Course’s structural foundation.

Making this distinction is crucial because it directs our attention to the causes within our control.

Depending on the circumstances of each student:

  • Health, family, adjustment, and developmental issues (e. g. academic difficulties in general, or “immaturity” or self-esteem issues. Although these factors are beyond our control, instructors who believe they are at play can refer students to the appropriate campus support services:.
  • Health services.
  • Psychological and counseling services.
  • Academic Growth.
  • Office of the Dean of Students.
  • Culture-related issues may also be necessary. Although the culture of the US classroom is not uniform and standards for classroom behavior can differ significantly, they are all underpinned by the same fundamental academic principles. Students from different cultures who don’t share the same values won’t be aware of the implicit rules for conduct in the classroom. MORE about cultural differences.

The course’s structure is as follows:

Some of the impolite actions may unintentionally be encouraged by the instructor’s conduct or the design of the course. Boice (1998) researched classroom incidents for several procedures and published several findings.

  • Apart from a few egregious instances, professors and students disagree on what constitutes unruly behavior. Additionally, there is substantial disagreement among various professors and students.
  • Incidences are not significantly influenced by the instructor’s age or prior teaching experience. The average level of incidents for new and young instructors is the same as for more seasoned and older instructors.
  • Two factors mainly predict classroom incivilities.
  1. Selection of motivators.

Instructors who employ demotivating strategies (e. g. , guilt or embarrassment) experience more incidents in the classroom than teachers who use positive motivators (e. g. , support and adoration).

  1. The frequency of “immediacy” behaviors (verbal and nonverbal warmth and friendliness cues).

Compared to teachers who display many of these behaviors, instructors who only occasionally show them experience significantly more incidents. In other words, if students feel that the instructor has abandoned the class and their learning process, they will leave it and engage in the corresponding problematic behaviors. Other elements that negatively affect incivilities include perceived value of instruction, organization and clarity, and pacing.

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Possible Techniques

Each guiding principle can generate a variety of practical tactics because they are sufficiently inclusive.

Set expectations up front.

Students’ misbehavior in class can be prevented by clearly communicating your expectations.

  • Lay out your policies on the course syllabus. Unwanted behaviors can be stopped by respectfully explaining your procedures and their reasons. For more information on tone considerations, visit the page on creating the syllabus. For policies relating to using laptops and cell phones, see this link.
  • Permit students to help set the rules. Although it is only possible for some classes, it gives the students a more significant stake in the regulations governing their behavior and interactions. Ask the students to consider lessons that had unproductive discussions or other students’ actions that interfered with their learning. Make use of that list as the foundation for your ground rules. Of course, you continue to have the final say.

Reduce the degree of anonymity.

Students occasionally behave carelessly, especially in large classes where the environment feels impersonal. To establish connections with students, you can try the following methods:

  • One-on-one interaction with students. Make small talk with students right before and after class. Inquire about the upcoming weekend, your homework, or shared interests. Some professors plan lunches with small groups of students throughout the semester to get to know them and come across as more approachable.
  • Utilize the office hours. Even in larger classes, there are more opportunities for interaction because office hours are one-on-one. During the first week, some professors have a required office hour where they meet with each student individually and are available to help if necessary.

Obtain student opinions.

Some misbehavior on the part of students results from perceived wrongdoing on the part of the teacher, such as the teacher’s delay or disorganization, rudeness or interruptions of their speaking time. To confirm how students see you, get feedback. With one-minute papers, you can use anonymous in-class feedback or early course evaluations. Additionally, you can elect a few students to serve as your class representatives. During meetings with them throughout the semester, they can inform you of general issues affecting the entire student body. Discover more about evaluating your instruction.

Promote active learning.

While there are clear advantages for student learning and performance, there are also potential advantages for student behavior in the classroom. Students benefit from active knowledge in classes, as Sorcinelli notes.

  • Feel more accountable for attending and being prepared for class.
  • they give the impression of paying more attention in class.
  • Feel more in charge of their education.
  • There are several ideas in the section on instructional strategies for implementing active learning in your courses.