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Student Incivility: Strategies to Prevent and Respond to Conflict

Rude and disruptive behaviors compromise the classroom climate; making it difficult for other students to learn and instructors to teach.

Surveys indicate that one of every five students periodically displays some form of resistance to learning or hostility within the learning environment. Some students arrive late, fall asleep, or habitually miss class. Others argue with other students or the instructor. These behaviors—and others like them—are troubling on their own. What’s worse is that they are highly contagious and will spread to other students if the instructor is unprepared to quickly address and resolve them.

There is no such thing as a tolerable amount of incivility. A little disruptive behavior begets more disruptive behavior, and soon a healthy classroom environment devolves into an unhealthy one that does not support learning and that distresses other students. Negativity pervades the class. Some students become overtly hostile and disrespectful to their peers and instructors. Eventually, the class is overcome with contemptuous students who resist completing homework or participating in discussions. And that’s not what anyone signed up for.

Learn what you can do to create more supportive classrooms and defuse tension before it escalates, as well as how to handle those rare instances when even the best conflict mitigation tactics fail with Student Incivility: Strategies to Prevent and Respond to Conflict.

Topics Covered

Led by Steven Meyers, PhD, professor and associate chair in the Department of Psychology at Roosevelt University, this seminar explains what you can do to prevent conflict, how you should respond when it does occur, and which techniques you should be using to develop healthy, respectful classroom environment.

After watching this online seminar, you will be able to:

  • Communicate warmly and sensitively with students in order to prevent conflict
  • Balance empathy with structure and clear policies stated in the syllabus
  • Use active and collaborative learning to develop positive relationships among students
  • Acknowledge students’ feelings and help them evaluate alternatives when conflict does occur
  • Employ more comprehensive strategies for complicated situations
  • Identify common sources and triggers of classroom conflict
  • Categorize types of conflict to guide the selection of adaptive responses
  • Identify strategies to create classroom environments that prevent conflict
  • Apply research-supported techniques to mitigate conflict when it occurs

You also will learn several well-documented and classroom-tested strategies to reduce and resolve conflict. These strategies are used by psychologists and professional mediators, and they are all easy to adopt and adapt to your courses. By employing them, you will be able to avoid and defuse hostile situations while helping students identify and evaluate alternative solutions.

Avoiding conflict ultimately generates more conflict, which is exactly what instructors want to avoid. Through this seminar you will learn both why it is important to confront conflict and how to deal with it when it arises in one of its various forms. Ultimately, you will learn how to create, within your current classes, positive learning communities that cultivate student engagement and naturally discourage disruptive, disrespectful, and otherwise damaging behaviors.

This seminar is now available on CD. The recording includes the complete transcript and all supplemental materials.

An optional Campus Access License is available for an additional $200. It allows the purchasing institution to upload the CD of the seminar onto the institution’s password-protected internal website for unlimited access by the entire campus community.

Intended Audience

Given the prevalence of classroom incivility, nearly any instructor at any experience level or in any discipline would benefit from having some simple yet proven conflict resolution strategies at the ready.

The following professionals would particularly benefit from this seminar:

  • Instructors
  • Full- and part-time faculty members across all disciplines
  • Faculty development staff
  • Administrators who mediate classroom conflict (e.g., department chairs, deans)

If you have any questions contact Customer Service at 800-433-0499 or (608) 246-3590 or email us at

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