June 4, 2012

Dealing with Difficult Students and Other Classroom Disruptions

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Problem students come in all forms, and may be “difficult” for wide variety of behaviors. While it’s impossible to create neat little categories that adequately describe the full range of problems encountered by college faculty, a good starting point may be to classify the behaviors as annoying, disruptive, or dangerous. Each requires a different type of response based on the context of the behavior.


September 13, 2010

Five Techniques for Dealing with Problem Students and Other Classroom Challenges

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James is a first-year student who is enjoying the freedoms of being out from underneath his parents’ rules. He’s an average student academically, but is often a distraction in class. He perpetually texting or surfing the web, and gentle reminders from the professor to pay attention fail to keep him on task for long. His behavior is having a negative effect on other students in the class and the professor is reaching his breaking point. The final straw came when the professor noticed James was wearing headphones while taking an exam.


March 8, 2010

Recognizing and Managing Student Aggression

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Consider the following scenario: A student, clearly upset about receiving a failing grade on the midterm, comes up to you after class and says he wants to retake it. You reply that, as stated in the syllabus, there are no make-up exams. You also remind him of his spotty attendance record. He becomes angry, knocks your papers off the front table, and yells “You’re a terrible professor! The whole class hates you!”