Promoting Classroom Civility: Preventing & Managing Challenging Student Behaviors

Student talking on phone

Faculty have increasingly faced a myriad of potentially difficult classroom situations, from mild challenges to potentially dangerous dilemmas that can significantly interfere with the teaching and learning process.

The climate of higher education has changed over the past few decades, and faculty are now faced with serious issues of classroom behavior that were previously of little concern. Unfortunately, instructors sometimes fail to address the disruptive behavior of students because they may:

  • be unsure how to handle the situation,
  • fear legal or physical retaliation from the student,
  • be afraid the student may become more agitated,
  • Disruptive student in the extremeconclude that reporting the disruptive behavior will cause emotional pain to an already fragile or unstable person and/or
  • fear that confronting student misconduct may result in negative student evaluation of the course.

However, failure to address disruptive behavior is likely to encourage further disruption, and it sends the message that such behavior is not problematic and that college personnel are indifferent to it.

Our goal is to help you to confidently, fairly, and safely address incidents of disruption in a systematic manner that discourages such behavior in the future while retaining the dignity of the classroom environment.

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Quick List of Crisis Contacts:

  • Emergency Services (Life-threatning, imminent danger to self or others)
    9-911, then call Public Safety
  • Public Safety 24/7 line (Crisis response, potentially threatening situations)
    (608) 243-2222 (on-campus dial 2222)
  • Counseling Crisis (distressed, disturbed, or disruptive students)
    (608) 212-8892
  • Counseling Services (non-urgent refferals, appointments)
    (608) 246-6076