by Alyson Bostwick
Good teaching is one-fourth
preparation and three-fourths theater. -Gail Godwin
In my teaching experience,
I have encountered at least one instance of disruptive behavior in
the classroom every single semester. Many times these are innocent
acts of frustrated, immature, or troubled students. Some students
are simply unfamiliar with the standards of conduct and don't know
how to act in a college classroom. Others have inadequate coping skills
and take their frustration out on their classmates and/or their instructor.
Your job as an educator is to provide a safe and effective learning
environment for everyone. If the behavior of one student threatens
that safety and effectiveness for you or your students, you need to
take action. Often a simple reminder to the offending student will
suffice. However, there are times when more serious action is needed.
In the following materials
you will find guidelines for handling disruptive student behavior.
In it you will find answers to:
What is disruptive
can include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Verbal abuse
- Physical abuse or
- Willful damage to
personal or college property
- Use of drugs and
alcohol on college premises
- Inordinate demands
for time and attention
- Disruption of a classroom,
administrative or campus activity
The disruptive student
is one who, through his/her behavior or attitude, interferes with
academic or administrative activity on campus.
Disciplinary action is taken on the basis of explicit behavior or
attitude which is in violation of the Standards of Student Conduct,
regardless of the cause.
What action should
you take if you encounter disruptive behavior?
Disruptions which are
minor annoyances and non-threatening are expected to cease upon
the first request. Repeated behavior will be handled according to
the guidelines set forth in your college's Standards of Student
Conduct. Note: These guidelines are applicable to the classroom
or to any administrative or campus-related activity.
Inform the disruptive
- of the appropriate
standard of behavior
- that the disruptive
behavior will not be tolerated because it is interfering with
the educational process or functioning of a campus activity or
depriving others of the right to learn, the right to service,
and/or the right to feel safe
- that he or she will
be reported to the Dean of Educational Programs in CC-217 if the
behavior continues. This verbal notice must be followed up in
writing with a copy given to the student at the next class meeting.
the behavior continues:
- You have the right
to ask the student to leave your class for the day of removal
and the next class meeting.
- If the student refuses
to vacate the premises, call Security for assistance
- Student conduct templates
are available at this site.
(link to templates directory)
- Look up appropriate
action in the Standards of Student Conduct
It is important that
incidents of disruptive behavior be reported so that the college
can monitor and utilize appropriate intervention to minimize the
occurrences of disruptive behavior. When referring or reporting
disruptive behavior, be specific, concise and describe observable
behavior. Avoid evaluate diagnosis. All verbal reports must be followed
up in writing. Referrals should be accompanied by a Student Referral
Form available from the Counseling Office, room SS-135, and the
Dean of Educational Programs, Room SS-260.
Take Heart! Dealing with
behavior problems is part of our job. Fortunately, it is a very (very,
very) small part. Just keep in mind that perhaps the worst thing to
do is to 'ignore it until it goes away'. It rarely does!