Handling Student Disruptions in the Classroom

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For those of you who are Education majors either in college or are already in the action of the field itself, here are ways of handling student disruptions in the classroom! Whether it is to prepare you for teaching or already teaching in the field! These examples are designed to help both faculty and staff members alike to assess problem behavior and determine the appropriate course of action! Often times, inappropriate student behaviors can be easily and directly dealt with by faculty and staff. However, other cases may require consultation, school, campus or college disciplinary action, or immediate emergency response!

Examples of Classroom/Office Disruptions:

  • Making loud or distracting noises.

  • Repeatedly entering and leaving the classroom.

  • Failure to comply with verbal or written directions of school or college staff acting in the performance of their duties.

  • Exhibiting erratic, irrational, or disorderly behavior.

  • Repeated use of a cell phone or other unauthorized electronic devices.

  • Inappropriate use of profanity.

  • Physical abuse, threats, or verbal insults, and intimidating behavior, and any other activity the faculty/staff member may deem disruptive in the class/office environment.

Prevention: In order to foster a school or campus climate of respect and civility, it is important for staff and faculty to articulate expectations, encourage discussion and respond to problems consistently and in a timely manner. Faculty members are responsible for the management of their classrooms and encounter fewer problems with student behavior when they clearly state their expectations about the importance of respectful classroom behavior and include those expectations in their syllabi. While the school or college environment is a place where the free exchange of ideas can take place in an atmosphere that allows for debate and disagreement, all classroom behavior and discourse should reflect the values of civility and respect. Students and faculty members share the responsibility to maintain a learning environment that reflects these values.

Suggestions for Handling Classroom or Office Disruptions: Respond immediately to problem behaviors before they escalate. Any problem behavior should be dealt with and resolved at the lowest level possible. Once there is a situation in which the student’s behavior becomes disruptive, there is a basis for intervention. When a safe school or campus environment is jeopardized, faculty/staff have a right and a responsibility to intervene. Before the situation develops into a crisis, consider referring a student exhibiting disruptive or inappropriate behavior to the Dean of Student Services or the Principal of the School. If the behavior is irritating, but not disruptive, try speaking with the student in private. The conversation should include a description of the problem behavior, why is it a problem, expectations for future behavior and the specific consequence of continued problems. Document problem behaviors in writing and submit copies to indicated staff and immediate supervisor and the Dean of Student Services or the Principal of a School. A student who persists in disruptive behavior may be directed by the faculty/staff member to leave the classroom/office. The student should be told the reason(s) for such action and given opportunity to discuss the action as soon as possible with the faculty/staff member and/or Dean of Student Services or the Principal of a School.

In conclusion, while school and/or campus disruption can be seen as a disciplinary issue as defined of the Student Code of Conduct (outlined in the student handbook), faculty and staff are encouraged to provide a first – level response to resolve disruptions in their own settings.

This message is an advice to everyone who is in the education field and others who are open to this conduct from Broward College, because we care for all!

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