This week’s forum on Classroom Management was discussing ideas on how to manage disruptive behaviour in the classroom. The forum started with a great video from Pink Floyd-Another Brick in the Wall. Watching this video was alarming to me in many ways. I don’t think learning happens when instructed with fear and humiliation. Instructors as fearful dictators is long past, thankfully….I hope? To answer the question, “would a teacher be the cause of a disruptive behaviour?” I say yes, it’s up to us to set the tone for the class early on in the beginning and follow through with it. Chit chat, sleeping in class and leaving the class frequently are all very clear signs of student disengagement. Every class will probably need to be handled different, but it’s up to us and the learners to find a way for students to be engaged.
Here’s a short video on the management of disruptive behaviour. From everything that I’ve read so far, it seems being consistent is a key element to managing disruptive behaviour in the classroom. This video says to follow these 3 steps:
- Always assume good will-try to determine the cause, is it a lack of motivation or boredom?
- Redirect disruptive behaviour to a more positive way-channeling into a more engaging or physical activity
- Be consistent for the management of the class-be clear about expectations and what the consequences are, give easy to understand and clear directions, be strict, but be kind and use some humour.
Being too lenient has back-fired on me in the classroom before. But it’s never too late, it just makes it more difficult. We have a “no electronic devices” policy in our lab. Students asked me if they could have music playing from their iPad while doing lab work? We discussed it as a class, everyone agreed to it & I did too as long as it was played softly. Everyone seemed to be enjoying it until the next lesson when a student showed up with her phone in her pocket and headphones in her ears. When I questioned her she stated ” you agreed to us listening to music and this is my electronic device, no difference then?” She constantly challenged me on multiple issues following this one. Well, wearing headphones is a safety issue in the lab so I explained that & then had to stop the students from listening to their softly played music. If I had just been consistent from the start, this wouldn’t have happened. I have learned not to be too lenient and just stick to the given policy….be consistent.
Here’s a great Classroom Management article dealing with issues and solutions to leaving class too frequently, monopolizing discussions, sleeping in class and disruptive behaviour. Also, some ways to set up the classroom atmosphere and how to help students learn to be college students. . A successful first day and week often contributes to a semester free of classroom management problems by setting ground rules on the first day and following through with them. It also offers some “positive impression givers” and some “negative impression givers” on a table to provide students with a guide for managing themselves as students. You could distribute this list to your class at the time you discuss your syllabus. I found this table very interesting and plan on keeping it handy as a guideline to refer back to in the future. Most of the listed ”impression givers” are obvious to most of us, but as instructors we shouldn’t assume that they are obvious for our learners. Handing this table out at the beginning of a course may be necessary information for some college students.
Classroom Management-Cellphones as a distraction
I think that all cellphones are a distraction in the classroom. I don’t allow them to be turned on while I instruct. If a student needs to have their cellphone on for any particular reason (sick child, etc) then I will make an exception, but they have to let me know prior to my lesson. I find the distraction of cellphones to be very disrespectful of my time and other students trying to learn. Cellphone usage can be very addictive for some people and once they hear an incoming text, they can’t concentrate on anything else until they’ve checked their phone. Turning cellphones off seems to work for me in my class and I turn my phone off as well.