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Teaching Strategies: Incivility in the College Classroom
Broadly defined, classroom incivility is any action that interferes with a harmonious and cooperative learning atmosphere in the classroom. Uncivil student behavior not only disrupts and negatively effects the overall learning environment for students but also contributes to instructors' stress and discontent. The articles in this section describe forms of classroom incivility and ways to reduce disruptive behavior in the college classroom.
Resources from around the web
Reducing Incivility in the University/College Classroom
Incivility in the classroom is offensive, intimidating, or hostile behavior that interferes with students’ ability to learn and with instructors’ ability to teach. This paper identifies factors contributing to uncivil interactions in the classroom and provides practical strategies designed to avoid or diffuse such conflicts.
Understanding Student and Faculty Incivility in Higher Education
This paper reviews academic literature focusing on disrespect and disruptions in the classroom and explores strategies for preventing and managing student incivility.
Civility/Incivility in the College Classroom
The Office of Faculty and Organizational Development at Michigan State University provides a number of resources for exploring issues around classroom conflict and strategies for dealing with incivility in the classroom.
Faculty Members' Social Identities and Classroom Authority
This article by U-M faculty members Mark Chesler and Alford A. Young, Jr., highlights the important roles social identity factors such as race and gender play in shaping students' responses to their instructors. They discuss the greater likelihood that faculty of color as well as white women faculty will experience disrespectful behavior from their students, particularly challenges to their classroom authority and competence, and offer some suggestions for practice -- for those faculty members as well as their colleagues.
One important way to prevent incivility in the classroom is to explicitly set expectations and norms in your classrooms and labs. Discussion or participation guidelines offer one important method for doing so. Here are some examples of guidelines instructors at U-M use in various disciplines.
This handout from a recent CRLT workshop provides additional strategies for preventing disrespect and disruption.
This handout from a recent workshop provides strategies for preventing student-to-student disrespect.
This worksheet from a recent workshop provides strategies for responding if students do act disrespectfully or disruptively in your classrooms.
- Student disrespect can often cause widespread discomfort in a learning space. Here are some suggestions for making the most of such "hot moments" as learning opportunities.