In last Wednesday’s post, Stephen F. Davis, Patrick F. Drinan, and Tricia Bertram Gallant, the authors of the newly released CHEATING IN SCHOOL: What We Know and What We Can Do, recommended steps faculty can take to reduce cheating in their classroom. In this, the second of a two-part email interview, the authors offer advice to academic leaders on how to create healthy environments that support ethical choices at all levels of the organization.
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Effective Classroom Management
In CHEATING IN SCHOOL: What We Know and What We Can Do, (Wiley-Blackwell) authors Stephen F. Davis, Patrick F. Drinan, and Tricia Bertram Gallant provide a comprehensive look at the cheating phenomenon from primary through graduate school. In an email interview with Faculty Focus, the authors discuss academic integrity issues in higher education specifically, including steps that can be taken at the institutional level as well as in individual classrooms.
Students and excuses seem to go hand in hand. Sometimes the excuses result from real events and personal problems that legitimately prevent a student from being in class, completing an assignment on time, or doing what some other policy or procedure may stipulate. Not having the wisdom of Solomon, most faculty struggle to fairly adjudicate between the real and unreal reasons offered for noncompliance.
Getting students to participate in class is one of those perplexing instructional problems we all face, particularly when teaching undergraduate classes. Are there significant differences in the graduate classroom?
For quite some time now I’ve been interested in a widely held set of assumptions faculty make about the need to assert control at the beginning of a course. The argument goes something like this: When a course starts, the teacher needs to set the rules and clearly establish who’s in charge. If the course goes well, meaning students abide by the rules and do not challenge the teacher’s authority, then the teacher can gradually ease up and be a bit looser about the rules.
On top of everything college faculty are responsible for, there’s one that may be easy to overlook or even deem as unnecessary: Teaching students how to be students. Do so at your peril because most students need a little help understanding and practicing the skills and behaviors they need to succeed.
1. Create a classroom environment that from the first day sets ground rules for discussion and makes it clear that all students are included in the work of the class. Make sure you make all students feel connected to each other, the class, and the topic, and establish strong expectations about the content and manner of communication.
The first time a student’s cell phone rang in my class, I was angry and frustrated. With their musical ringers, cell phones that go off in class are rude and distracting. But how to respond? I’ve never been very good at playing the heavy. Was there any way I could take this annoying occurrence and twist so that it would contribute to a more positive classroom environment?
In case you ever had any doubts, research verifies that both students and teachers find cell phones ringing in class distracting. The results also document strong support from students and faculty for policies against ringing cell phones. Although there was strong support against cell phones going off in class, the strength of that support was mediated by age. The younger cohort in the study was more tolerant of cell phones than the older cohort.