The Office of Student Conduct is proud to support all faculty members in their pursuit to educate the student body at Kingsborough Community College. We understand the role of being a professor involves many different aspects and want to be able to help make your job a little easier in regards to classroom management. Dealing with difficult and disruptive students is not always an easy or fun task and may pose a challenged to even the most seasoned professional at times. Please utilize the Office of Student Conduct as a resource on campus to help you manage your classroom to help you promote growth and learning to your students.
Addressing Classroom Behavior
Kingsborough Community College is an institution of higher learning that respects the rights of all students to learn in an environment free of distraction and disruption. The classroom is where faculty and staff come together to promote learning and growth. On occasion, there may be times where a faculty member feels they are not able to teach because of a disruptive student. Examples of these disruptive behaviors can include: side conversations, being consistently late to class, leaving throughout the class, use of electronic devices (cell phones, laptops, iPods, etc…), unnecessary or repetitive questions and comments which seeks to delay the professor from teaching the class. Disruptive behavior prohibits the faculty member from teaching and prevents other students from learning.
While this disruptive behavior violates the Henderson Rules to Maintain Public Order, the Office of Student Conduct wants to help faculty members prevent and stop this behavior from occurring before it results in a disciplinary referral for the student. The following are guidelines regarding classroom management:
- Faculty members are the primary individuals responsible for their classroom environment. It is appropriate to exercise authority with a sense of fairness to all.
- Classroom disruptions may constitute a violation of Henderson Rules to Maintain Public Order. The term “classroom disruption” refers to behavior a reasonable person would view as substantially or repeatedly interfering with the conduct of a class. If you feel that a student is causing a classroom disruption it is vital that you keep detailed records. Documentation is essential to the disciplinary process. This is used as the primary source of evidence for the conduct process. Please make sure to include dates, times, names of those present and objective details of the incidents.
- While in the classroom, both faculty and student have a certain level of academic freedom. A lawful expression of a disagreement between individuals should be allo bed and is not considered disruptive behavior.
- There is a difference between rudeness, incivility and disruption. It can be better to respond to rudeness by example and privately with the student than public discourse. Rudeness can turn into a disruption when it is repetitive, especially after a warning has been given.
- Strategies to prevent and respond to disruptive behavior include the following (from Gary Pavela, J.D., Synthesis: Law and Policy in Higher Education, Spring 2000):
- Clarify standards for the conduct of your class. For example, if you want students to raise their hands for permission to speak, say so, using reminders as needed. Generally, faculty members encounter fewer problems when they clearly state their expectations of respect in the classroom at the beginning of the semester. Some instructors have found including behavioral expectations in their course syllabus helps reduce disruptive behavior.
- Serve as a role model for the conduct you expect from your students.
- If you believe inappropriate behavior is occurring, consider a general word of caution, rather than warning a particular student (e.g. "We have too many simultaneous conversations at the moment; let's all focus on the same topic").
- If the behavior is irritating, but not disruptive, try speaking with the student after class. Most students are unaware of distracting habits or mannerisms, and have no intention of being offensive or disruptive. If the discussion with the student raises additional concerns, please reach out to a member of Assessment and Care Team (ACT).
- There may be rare circumstances when it is necessary to speak to a student during class about his or her behavior. Try to do so in a firm and friendly manner, indicating that further discussion can occur after class. Public arguments and harsh language must be avoided.
- In extreme situations a student who persists in disrupting a class may be directed to leave the classroom for the remainder of the class period. This is a serious step and not to be taken lightly. If you have concerns related to the safety of individuals or the student does not leave your classroom, please contact Public Safety immediately. After the student is removed from the class, please file an incident report if you did not complete a disciplinary referral with Public Safety.
- If you need clarification if a behavior violates the Henderson Rules to Maintain Public Order please contact the Office of Student Conduct. It is better to report disruptive behavior promptly instead of letting it build over time. The longer the instructor allows the inappropriate behavior to continue, the harder it will be to address the inappropriate behavior in the future as it has become acceptable behavior. It is easier to prevent disruptive behaviors than it is to deal with them as they occur.
Tips for dealing with disruptive students
- Decide your limits of acceptable classroom behavior regarding lateness, sleeping in class, use of cell phones, alarm watches, eating in class, unrelated talking in class, etc... before the semester begins.
- Take a preventive approach by setting limits from the beginning. Use your course syllabus to state expectations and “ground rules”. Allowing students to be involved in forming “ground rules” gives them ownership and helps them enforce the ground rules in class.
- Be a role model for the behavior you require of your students.
- Deal with disruptive behavior early, before you get angry or feel threatened.
- Familiarize yourself with the student conduct process, Henderson Rules to Maintain Public Order and the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs.
- Do not take students’ behavior personally. Please understand that students are coming into the classroom with their own personal history and issues. Don’t let them “hook” you or give them the power to judge you.
- If you need to reprimand a student, speak with the student privately if possible. This will avoid defensiveness and/or “acting out” in response to being shamed in front of their peers.
- Convey your interest and concern to the student. Take a non-defensive stance to try to understand where the student in coming from. Meet with the student to discuss the disruptive behavior but also include discussion of their educational objectives and aspirations.
- When necessary, set specific behavioral expectations for a student and hold the student accountable for them.
- Use assertive communication (“I” statements), focus on behavior, not the personality of the student, don’t use labels and state clear expectations for appropriate behavior.
Students at Kingsborough Community College represent a diverse population from more than 140 different countries with just under half being born in the United States. When working with students remember to be conscious of cultural differences that may cause their interactions with instructors to differ from the norm at times. Cultural differences may include different types of body language and gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, work ethic, and personal discipline.
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Kingsborough Community College strives to provide equal access to education through the provision of appropriate academic accommodations to documented students with disabilities. Please be aware that some disruptive students might be suffering from some form of a differing ability. While these students may be considered disabled and are protected under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, they are held to the same standard of conduct as any other Kingsborough student. Please remember to establish and enforce the rules and acceptable behaviors for your classroom and hold all students to the same standards. If you have questions please contact Access- Ability Services at 718-368-5175 or .
How to recognize and assist students in distress
Faculty members are usually the first persons in a college community to observe students who experience personal distress or difficulties coping with college. The Office of Student Conduct values your opinion and understands that you have regular contact with students and may witness behavior that seems abnormal or bizarre for the individual. You are not expected to take on the role of counselor but you can help Kingsborough identify students in distress and assist them while maintaining your professional role. The Office of Counseling Services is available for you to consult with or to refer students to in their time of need. To reach the Office of Counseling Services, please contact 718-368-5975.
If a situation arises where a student is in distress or you feel concern, please contact the Assessment and Care Team. The team will assess the situation and make recommendations for action. Such actions may range from a counseling or academic support referral to removing the student from the college community by means of the appropriate CUNY processes. When appropriate, ACT will refer students, deemed not to be high risk, to campus resources and services that will enable them to remain in good standing at Kingsborough. You will be asked to provide a detailed report of what has caused you concern. Please include dates, times, names of those present and objective details of the incidents.
To make a referral, please call:
- Dean of Student Affairs at (718) 368- 5563
- Complete a referral form online by going to the Kingsborough Community College website or clicking the following link:
IMPORTANT: Behaviors that warrant immediate reporting to Campus Public Safety instead of making a referral:
- Student displays or allegedly is carrying a weapon of any kind
- Student threatens harm to self or others (including written indications of harm of suicide)
- Assault of any nature including sexual assault
For all emergencies: Public Safety (718) 368-7777 or x7777 from a campus phone
Non-Discrimination of Students on the Basis of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Related Conditions
Kingsborough Community College does not discriminate against any student on the basis of pregnancy or related conditions. Absences due to medical conditions relating to pregnancy will be excused for as long as deemed medically necessary by a student’s doctor and students will be given the opportunity to make up missed work. Students needing assistance can seek accommodations from the Office of Access-Ability or the Title IX Coordinator. Office of Access-Ability (located in D205), can be reached at 718-368-5175 or by emailing . The Title IX Coordinator, Angel Rivera (located in A228D), can be reached at 718-368-5026 or by email . For more information, please visit: .
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