Yesterday I attended a faculty development workshop organized by Professor Judy Smalling at St Petersburg College. She invited a panel of students to present their side of the classroom management issue. Professor Smalling quoted Dr. Patrick Morrissette (Brandon University) who said, "Inappropriate behavior that disrupts the learning process is a blatant violation of student rights."
The student panel described various disruptive behaviors that they have witnessed in the classroom including students coming to class tardy, text messaging, leaving class to answer cell phones that ring (and talking on these on the way out), early packing up before class ends, and various disrespectful comments made to other students and to the teachers.
The students' suggestions? Take back your classroom. Set expectations and rules. Don't be afraid to confront those students who disrupt the class as the rest of the students want you to be in charge. "You're not treating us like kids...you're telling us to act like responsible adults. And if we see that you have classroom management policies and enforce these fairly, then we will use peer pressure in the classroom to help you."
As one student commented, "If my teacher gets distracted and loses his or her concentration because of the other students' inappropriate behaviors, then I get cheated out of this teacher's time in class.
Professor Smalling shared her own classroom policies where she deducts points for absenteeism, tardiness or leaving class early. As she notes, "If I am absent from class, there are consequences in that I lose pay or have to use my sick time." She goes on to say, "I refuse to allow distractions. I have an obligation to all my students to create the classroom environment they need in order to learn."