Assignment: Problems undergraduate students experience
1. Describe some student behaviors that you observe in your undergraduate classes that are problematic. What made them problematic? Give me an example from last week.
Some problematic behaviors are texting or surfing the Internet with cell phones during class, and talking to peers while I am trying to teach. Some students sit at the back of the classroom and state that they cannot hear. When asked to move up, they do not want to. Students sometimes do not prepare for class in terms of reading and/or pre-work. Then, the class does not progress as intended due to the fact that I have to direct teach the background information. This puts us behind schedule and does not let the students process information at the level needed. Other times I have an activity scheduled and students balk at the hands-on approach, preferring to “sit and get.” Last week, I had assigned a case study for students to read and be prepared to interact with others in their group to develop a solution. Not all of the students in two of the groups had done their part of the assignment or weren’t properly prepared, so this left the entire group without the ability to complete the classroom activity.
2. Based on teaching experiences, how would you define incivility?
Incivility includes student or faculty behaviors that impact the culture and community of the class. Incivility can also include actions taken by students and/or faculty that interfere with teaching and learning.
3. What are some behaviors you would describe as uncivil? When was the last time this occurred? What happened?
· Students will text during class when I am trying to lecture or teach.
· Students will forget to set their cell phones to silent or will take a phone call during class time, starting the conversation even before they get out of the room.
· Students will come to class late and then disrupt class by asking the instructor to get them caught up.
· Students will “surf” the Internet rather than work on the class assignment.
· This happens on a regular basis in class. I think sometimes students feel that since they are paying for the classes, they can do what they want during class time.
4. Can you share one or two examples of student incivility that you have experienced in classes?
· I had one student in an online class who disagreed with the content on learning styles. He took one source that disputed the validity of learning styles as the sole word on the topic. Then, he was combative in the discussion forums, challenging others to the point that two students e-mailed me with concerns and refused to interact with him.
· Sometimes students challenge a grade. When I ask them to highlight where they feel they have addressed the part of the grade they challenged, they can’t do so and then still believe their grade should be changed.
5. How do you feel when students are uncivil?
Primarily, I feel disrespected and hurt. I go to great lengths to prepare for classes and don’t understand why students don’t want to engage and learn. When students are uncivil to each other, I feel the need to step in and focus the conversation and learning.
6. What factors or situations contribute to student incivility in your classes?
· Students can actively contribute to incivility by interrupting class with ringing cell phones, talking above the lecture, coming in late, and leaving early. Not being prepared for class contributes to negative feelings among and between peers, especially during active learning. One unprepared student can impact the entire group.
· Students can passively demonstrate incivility by surfing the Internet, playing games on the cell phone, texting, etc.
7. What strategies do you use to handle incidents of student incivility in your classes?
· I post a detailed syllabus and classroom policies that include a schedule and assignments so students can work ahead.
· In the beginning stages of a class I ask the students to create a set of norms that we can all follow to establish expectations for how we will treat each other.
· I am present and active in classroom discussions and in the discussion forum to redirect students if needed.
· Most importantly, I model the behaviors that I would like to see in students.