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  • 1. 10 Effective ClassroomManagement Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know Brought to you by A MAGNA PUBLICATION
  • 2. 10 Effective Classroom Management TechniquesEvery Faculty Member Should Know Effective classroom management is much more than just administering corrective measures when a student misbehaves; its about developing proactive ways to prevent problems from occurring in the first place while creating a positive learning environment. Establishing that climate for learning is one of the most challenging aspects of teaching, and one of the most difficult skills to master. For those new to the profession, failure to set the right tone will greatly hinder your effectiveness as a teacher. Indeed, even experienced faculty may sometimes feel frustrated by classroom management issues. Strategies that worked for years suddenly become ineffective in the face of some of the challenges today’s students bring with them to the classroom. Brought to you by The Teaching Professor, this special report features 10 proven classroom management techniques from those on the front lines who’ve met the chal- lenges head-on and developed creative responses that work with today’s students. This report will teach you practical ways to create favorable conditions for learning, including how to: • Get the semester off on the right foot • Prevent cheating • Incorporate classroom management principles into the syllabus • Handle students who participate too much • Establish relationships with students • Use a contract to help get students to accept responsibility • Employ humor to create conditions conducive to learning The goal of 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know is to provide actionable strategies and no-nonsense solutions for creating a positive learning environment – whether you’re a seasoned educator or someone who’s just starting out. Maryellen Weimer Editor The Teaching Professor2 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know • www.FacultyFocus.com
  • 3. Table of ContentsHow to Get Wet without Plunging In: Creative Ways to Start Class ..............................................................................4Making a Syllabus More Than a Contract ................................................................................................................5Conditions Associated with Classroom Conflict ........................................................................................................6Getting to Know You: The Importance of Establishing Relationships ........................................................................7Those Students Who Participate Too Much ................................................................................................................810 Things to Make the First Day (and the Rest) of the Semester Successful ............................................................9Use ‘Stuff Happens’ Cards to Handle Student Excuses ............................................................................................10Humor: Getting a Handle on What’s Appropriate ....................................................................................................11A Behavior Contract That Made a Difference ..........................................................................................................12Preventing Cheating: Do Faculty Beliefs Make a Difference? ..................................................................................13 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know • www.FacultyFocus.com 3
  • 4. same puzzle—I don’t make theHow to Get Wet without Plunging puzzles different colors in this case. Roundtable ReviewIn: Creative Ways to Start Class With this activity, I have students get out a sheet of paper and write a list of numbers from one to ten. Then I instruct them to put one importantBy Patty Kohler-Evans idea from the previous lecture on the first line. The paper is passed to the person on the left. Each time the paper is passed, the person receiving tarting a lecture can be chal- only a few minutes and gets studentsS lenging: getting everyone seated, attentive, and ready tomove forward with the content can active and focused. Piece the Puzzle the paper writes a different idea. After a few minutes I call time, and the papers go back to the original owner. This represents a collection oftake several minutes. I have found For this activity I break the content ideas for future review and study.that sometimes it feels abrupt and from the last lecture into four or five I have found that the preparationdisjointed, especially when it has sections. Then I take key points from for these activities takes very littlebeen a week since the last class each section and make them into time and that the results are verymeeting, so I’ve been working on jigsaw puzzles, one puzzle for each worthwhile. My students anticipatestrategies that help me get a class the activities, and I look forward togoing without wasting time and that having the students in a place whereget all the students engaged and I now begin each lesson with a they are ready to learn.ready to learn. I now begin eachlesson with a creative review of the creative review of the lastlast week’s materials. The reviewsinvolve a variety of techniques for week’s materials. The reviewsgetting students to reflect on previouscontent and ready to move on to new involve a variety of techniquesinformation. They also help with for getting students to reflectbuilding relationships, a criticalcomponent of teacher-student inter- on previous content and readyactions. Here are some of the strate-gies that I think work best to to move on to new information.accomplish these goals.Who’s Your Partner? section, with five or six pieces per Using sticky-back name tags, I put puzzle. I jumble the pieces and give athree or four names that go together set of puzzles to each group ofon the tags. Some examples are John, students. I generally make each set ofPaul, Ringo, and George, or Bill, puzzles on a different color of paperChelsea, and Hillary. I then randomly and put the jumbled pieces in aput the name tags on the backs of Ziploc bag. Each group completes allstudents. The students are allowed to the puzzles. This requires them tofind their partners by asking only yes categorize previously learned infor-and no questions. When they find the mation. I like to engage in competi-rest of their group, I have them work tion for prizes from the local dollaron a short review assignment. This store. The first table to complete allcan be a list of questions from the the puzzles correctly wins the prize.previous week’s content or a reflec- Another variation is to give eachtion or anything that requires that student a piece of a puzzle and havethey work together. The process of the student locate the other four orfinding the rest of the group takes five students who have pieces to the4 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know • www.FacultyFocus.com
  • 5. I was reluctant to share much moreMaking a Syllabus More power than that. My former one-page syllabus wasThan a Contract now 10 pages and included a short philosophical statement on learning to write along with writing- and learning-related justifications for every policy and procedure. In anBy Roxanne Cullen effort to make the syllabus a working part of the course in which students discovered for themselves what they needed to know about the course, I or years I’ve introduced my outside resources, and the generalF course syllabus by saying, “This is your contract for the course.”And all too often the document read focus of the syllabus: Does it focus on policies and procedures or is it weighted toward student learning had them write their first essay on the syllabus. I asked them to consider things like their expectations of the class, what they thought my expecta-more like a contract than a true rep- outcomes? Is there opportunity for tions were, what they thought theyresentation of my conceptualization negotiation of policies, procedures, knew about me, and what their rolesof the course. So I revised my intro- assignment choice, etc.? In the and responsibilities included.ductory composition course syllabus category Evaluation and I was actually eager to read thein an attempt to create a more Assessment, the subcategories essays. In some respects, I felt thatlearner-centered academic experi- examine the use of grades, the my work was being evaluated byence. Although these elements have feedback mechanisms employed, them, which provided an interestingbeen at the core of my teaching, my types of evaluation, learning twist on power and control. Theirsyllabus did not necessarily make outcomes, and opportunities for essays became another feedbackthem explicit or clearly articulate revising or redoing assignments. mechanism for me. Equally if nottheir function to the students. Based A review of my syllabus inspired more interesting was the conversa-on advice I found in several resources me to revise. I made several changes tion among the students as theyregarding the syllabus, I came to see to emphasize the concept of prepared to write. I use WebCT, so Ithat a teacher needs to consider the community. Although I have always suggested to students that they useways a syllabus can be useful to provided rationales for assignments the discussion board tool as astudents. My goal was to make my when I talked about them in class, I prewriting strategy. The discussionsyllabus more than the standard added a rationale statement for as- was lively and, I believe, productive.contract between my students and signments in the syllabus. I also Even students who had beenme. I wanted it to become a tool for provided rationales for all policies reluctant to participate in class dis-learning. and procedures so that they would cussions about the syllabus weighed I began by analyzing my syllabus look less like arbitrary laws set down in online with great authorityusing a rubric that I developed with a by the teacher and more as though regarding their interpretation of it.colleague based upon principles of they served enhanced learning. I also My syllabus is still a work inlearner-centered pedagogy. The incorporated more teamwork and col- progress. Most important, at thisoriginal design of the rubric was as a laborative projects, again with a point, is the tone my new syllabustool for administrators to determine rationale tied to learning outcomes. has set for the semester. Making thethe degree of learner-centeredness in Finally, I made an effort throughout first essay a response to the syllabusa department or unit based upon a to disclose information about myself, has focused more thought and timereview of course syllabi. The rubric mostly in regard to my experience as on it than in any of my previoushas three main categories, each with a composition teacher and a writer. classes. It has served as a catalyst forseveral subcategories. The main The most significant change I made discussion, for setting goals, and forcategory, Community, includes sub- was in the area of power and control. discussing writing. It has focused ourcategories that relate to the accessi- Instead of establishing an attendance attention on learning and made everybility of the teacher, the presence of policy, class participation rules, or aspect of the course intentional. Thislearning rationale, and evidence of penalties for late work, I indicated syllabus is much more than thecollaboration. In the category Power that all of these would be negotiated standard contract between myand Control, the subcategories focus by the class. Because the course is students and me.on teacher and student roles; use of populated by first-semester students, 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know • www.FacultyFocus.com 5
  • 6. learning related inversely with inat-Conditions Associated with tentive classroom conflict.” (p. 182) Hostile conflict—as in challenging,Classroom Conflict open resistance—was found to be related to “whether faculty expressed care toward students, communicated respect, behaved sensitively, and remained warm and engaged.” (p.By Maryellen Weimer 184) Faculty who did not approach students in these ways reported higher levels of conflict. And these faculty behaviors were also found to tudents can and do regularly unrelated to many characteristics ofS disrupt the classroom. Sometimes they are openlyhostile, challenging the teacher’s courses or instructors.” (p. 183) In other words, things like the in- structor’s gender, race, age, years of be most effective at reducing conflict. The researchers describe these methods as “working alliances” and report results that suggest facultyauthority and objecting to course re- teaching experience, full-time versus build them when they attend “to thequirements and classroom policies. part-time status, and class size did emotional bonds that exist in theMore often, the conflict grows out of not relate to the amount of reported classroom,” when they promote “atheir inattentiveness and passivity. conflict. These findings are at odds common sense of purpose whenThey arrive late, leave early, talk teaching,” and when students areduring class, and don’t even bother treated respectfully despite agree-to hide their boredom. Hostile conflict—as in ments. (p. 185) Even though more Faculty researchers (reference challenging, open resistance— than 61 percent of this samplebelow) wondered whether character- reported that they ignored conflictistics of courses and instructors mightbe associated with conflict. They also was found to be related to and the behaviors associated with it, this strategy was related to poorerwondered whether instructors’ prepa-ration and caring attitude toward “whether faculty expressed outcomes. In sum, based on these findings,students related to the presence or care toward students, faculty are well advised, yet again, toabsence of students’ disruptive take seriously their relationships withbehaviors. And they were curious as communicated respect, students. In this case it seems that anto how instructors went about behaved sensitively, and ounce of prevention may well beresolving conflict and whether they worth the pound of cure.perceived the techniques they used asbeing successful. remained warm and engaged.” Reference: Meyers, S.A., Bender, J., To find answers to these questions Hill, E.K., and Thomas, S.Y. (2006).and to document whether the differ- with some previous research that has How do faculty experience andences between hostile and inattentive documented that students tend to respond to classroom conflict?conflict were real, they surveyed a challenge the authority of female pro- International Journal of Teaching andnational sample of psychology profes- fessors and faculty of color more Learning in Higher Education, 18 (3),sors. Faculty who completed a 71- often than they challenge white male 180–187.item questionnaire were asked to faculty. Other research results do notanswer while thinking about a single find correlations between instructorcourse they had taught recently in characteristics and such things aswhich they experienced a high level student ratings of instructor effective-of student conflict. ness. Analysis of the survey results docu- However, these researchers did findmented a number of important some interesting correlations betweenfindings. First, the hypothesis about instructional methods and conflict.there being two different kinds of For example, “the use of lecture cor-conflict was confirmed. Second, “we related directly with inattentivefound that the amount of conflict that classroom conflict. On the otherfaculty reported was actually hand, using discussion or active6 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know • www.FacultyFocus.com
  • 7. comfortable having me know. A com-Getting to Know You: mercially available product that generates this information is theThe Importance of Establishing Learning Express-ways™ folder. Asking for written feedbackRelationships I frequently ask for written comments at the end of lectures. Students may comment about the class, express a concern, or shareBy Patty Kohler-Evans other information. I respond to all comments in writing and return them at the next class. Sometimes I ask students to rate their understanding bout two or three semesters faithful friend. In some casesA ago, I conducted an informal experiment with two of myclasses. With one, on the first night students don’t know what their name means. I have found that they are very willing to do some research to on a 1-to-10 scale, and sometimes I ask for a brief reflection. Since I have started to invest more time in getting to know my students,of class, I asked students their names find out what it means and to then I have noticed that my relationshipsand major courses of study. I intro- share that information with the rest with them have improved induced myself in much the same way, of the class. numerous ways. When studentswith a brief statement about my come to me after the course haschosen field. With the other class, I T-shirt collage ended, I still remember their namesspent time during the first and Sometimes I have students and something about them. I havesecond class sessions on activities introduce themselves to each other also noticed that I have moredesigned to acquaint students with by creating a T-shirt that represents students asking questions about theireach other and establish how we who they are. I supply each student chosen fields. They regularly tell mewould conduct the class. I used what with a pre-drawn T-shirt pattern on a that they value the activities as well. II learned about students that first sheet of paper. I ask students to use believe that the time invested in rela-night throughout the rest of the magazine pictures, markers, crayons, tionship building increases students’course. When I compared feedback etc., to design the shirt. motivation and commitment to thefrom the two classes, I was amazed Usually, I bring all the materials to course. Recently, I overheard oneat the differences between the two. class. Students tend to talk to each student commenting to another aboutFor example, one student from the other about themselves as they are a group assignment that I had made.second class noted that these activi- designing their T-shirts. I do a shirt She was admonishing her fellowties made the class more “user too. I believe this shows students that classmate to seek out other studentsfriendly.” He left class looking I value this activity. Students seem to who were different as a way to enrichforward to the rest of the semester. really enjoy doing this activity, and the experience. Whether these I’d like to share some of the activi- they usually work very hard to examples are a direct result of the re-ties I used to get students connected include multiple aspects of them- lationship building I can’t say forwith each other and with me. selves in the collage. Students listen sure, but I am convinced that it does attentively when it’s time to share the make a better climate for learning inWhat’s in a name? T-shirt collages, and even at the end my classes. When students introduce them- of the semester they still rememberselves, I ask them to tell us their information about their classmates.name and also to share what thatname means, if they know that; to Identification of personaltalk about the individual for whom intereststhey were named; and to indicate In many of my classes, I askwhether or not they like their name. I students to share information abouthave also asked whether they live their personal interests and learningtheir name. For instance, my name, preferences. I use a questionnaire to“Patricia,” means loyal. I tell students obtain this information, and I tellthat fits because I am generally a students to only share what they are 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know • www.FacultyFocus.com 7
  • 8. It may be useful to talk privatelyThose Students Who Participate with the student who is participating too much. It may help to make clearToo Much how and why too much communica- tion from one student inhibits the learning of others. Perhaps the student could be encouraged to move his or her participation to the nextBy Maryellen Weimer level by not just answering questions, but asking them; by not just making comments, but specifically respond- ing to things other students say in hat would we do without Generally teachers do not rebukeW those few students who are always ready to speak—who make a stab at an answer when the over-participator in public. Researchers in the study mentioned below asked students what they class. Participation norms are established early in the course. If a teacher holds fast to hearing from lots of studentsno one else will, who ask for clarifi- expected teachers to do about fellow right from the start, that norm will becation when they are confused, who classmates who over-participated. established and can be maintainedeven respond to things other students They found that students expect throughout the course.say in class? Most of those students teachers to manage compulsive com-we would like to clone. But then municators through management Reference: McPherson, M. B., andthere are those who communicate to strategies that are not rude or Liang, Y. (2007). Students’ reactionsexcess. They would answer every demeaning. Students “do not want to to teachers’ management of compul-question if we let them. They would witness a fellow student subjected to sive communicators. Communicationhappily dominate every classroom negative sanctions when it comes to Education, 56 (1), 18-33.discussion if allowed. We call these this particular transgression.” (p. 28)students the over-participators; in the When teachers do not address theresearch literature they are known as problem, according to this research,compulsive communicators, and re- students rate them lower onsearchers estimate that a bit more measures of credibility and affect orthen 5 percent of students fall into liking. In fact, doing nothing aboutthis category. compulsive communicators results in The rest of the class loves and even more negative student percep-hates these classmates. They are tions than does addressing theloved because they take the pressure problem punitively.off everyone else. They are hated What’s the best advice, based onbecause they speak so much. Their this research? Address the problemendless contributions soon bore using positive and constructive com-others. And they are hated because munication strategies. It helps tothey make those who struggle to con- have a discussion early in the coursetribute feel woefully incompetent. about the characteristics of effective Their behavior also presents all discussion and teacher-studentsorts of problems for the teacher, exchanges. If students are asked towho would love to call on somebody describe those conversations thatelse, but often that familiar hand is hold their attention and help themthe only one in the air. Generally learn, they are usually quick to nameover-participators are bright students. the over-participation problem andThey care about the content and have state preferences for dialogue inthe level of motivation a teacher which many people participate.would like to see in all students. But Teachers should design participationtheir determination to keep them- activities that require the contribu-selves always at the center of discus- tions of many: small groups present-sion tests in most of us the patience ing brief reports, sharing examples,and commitment to participate. or offering summaries.8 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know • www.FacultyFocus.com
  • 9. 7. After the introductions and the10 Things to Make the First Day explanation of the folder and box system, I turn to the “Today we will”(and the Rest) of the Semester list that I’ve written on the board, posted on a large paper flip-chart, or projected on the screen. I like toSuccessful actually write this list on the board, so I can return to it even while pro- jecting my notes. A “today we will” list outlines my plan for the day. ForBy Mary C. Clement example, for the first day, my “today we will list” says: • See screen for instruction for card and folder. like to arrive in the classroom well 3. When it’s time for class toI • Introductions before the students. It gives me start—start class! Late arrivals can • Turn in folders time to get things organized. I catch up by reading the screen. • Go over syllabus completelycreate an entrance table (I use chairs • Mini-lecture on ___________or desks if there’s no table) that 4. For classes of 25 or less, I have • Interest inventoryholds handouts for students to pick students do brief, 10-second introduc- • Do you know what to read/doup. From day one the students learn tions. I tell them there will be a before the next class?the routine: they arrive, pick up verbal quiz after all the introductionshandouts on the entrance table, and and that they can win stars if they Note: The “today we will” list letsread the screen for instructions. They know who is who. (Have fun with me walk around the room, teachknow what to do, and it saves time. this, but remember that these are from the projection system, and thenHere’s how I recommend introducing adults and college is not like junior look at the list for what I should dothe routine on day one. high.) next. I tend not to forget things if I have the list. As the semester pro- 1. Post your name and the name 5. For larger classes, I have gresses, the “today we will” listand section of the class on the students introduce themselves to might contain warm-up questionsscreen, so that when students walk in three or four people around them, that then appear as test questions.they know that they are in the right and then we might do “stand-ups”— The list helps students who arriveplace. stand up if you are a Spanish major, late or leave early see what they have stand up if you are an education missed. 2. Write “welcome” on the screen major, and so on. I explain thatand have directions that tell students students need to know each other for 8. The mini-lesson/mini-lecture—what they need to do immediately. our small group work, and in case whether it’s a short overview of theExample: “As you enter, please tell they have a question. first reading assignment, someme your name. Then pick up a sample problems, or 10 interestingsyllabus, a card, and a folder from 6. I collect the file folders and put questions students will be able tothe entrance table. Fold the card so them alphabetically by student name answer at the end of the course, Ithat it will stand on your desk, and into a big plastic carrying case. When strongly recommend doing somewrite your first name on it in BIG students need to turn in assignments, course content on the first day. Forletters. Add your last name and major they find the box on the entrance classes that last longer than 50in smaller print. Write your name on table and they put their papers in minutes, I include a short studentthe tab of the folder, (last name first, their respective folders. When papers activity. I also think it’s important tothen first name). Read the syllabus are graded, they can pull their graded begin with course material on dayuntil class starts.” [Note: By asking tests or assignments from their one so that students begin to see whostudents to tell you their name as folders. The beauty of this system is you are and how you teach. Since Ithey enter, you can hear how the that time is never wasted by passing teach courses in teacher education, Iname is pronounced, and avoid the out papers. For small classes, I put often talk about my teaching career. Iembarrassment of pronouncing it for handouts in the folders of absentthe first time yourself.] students. PAGE 10 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know • www.FacultyFocus.com 9
  • 10. FROM PAGE 9 about content—maybe solve a 10. Every good class has an intro- problem, write a short paragraph or duction, a body, and a conclusion. Iinclude a few stories about how answer specific questions. Finally usually teach the mini-lesson, andtimes have changed and about how open-ended questions are useful: then save the last six to eight minutessome things in teaching never • What are your goals after of class for the interest inventory andchange. graduation? individual questions. This way, • What has a teacher done in the students don’t have to wait on others 9. Interest inventories are great for past that helped you to learn to finish. I instruct students to turn inthe first day of class. An interest ___________ ? their interest inventory as they exit.inventory is just a short list of • Is there anything else that you As they are writing, I alphabetizequestions about students’ back- want me to know about you and their folders and put them in the boxgrounds and interests. It may assess your course of study? on the table. Another good closure istheir prior learning as well. In You can always add one fun to ask if they know what to read/doaddition to name and major, students question: before the next class, and if theycan write about a hobby, interest, or • If your song played when you know three people to ask about thegoal. Do not be too personal. You can entered the room, what would assignment if they have a question.have them answer several questions that song be?Use ‘Stuff Happens’ Cards to HandleStudent ExcusesBy Maryellen Weimer tudents and excuses seem to go student’s name. In the syllabus (and semester. When it does and theS hand in hand. Sometimes the excuses result from real eventsand personal problems that legiti- in class) she explains that this is a student’s “one time only” forgiveness card. If a student is late for class or student presents the excuse or excuses, the teacher once again faces the problems described at themately prevent a student from being might need a one-day extension on a beginning of the article. However,in class, completing an assignment paper, the student may trade the Professor Feenstra notes that theon time, or doing what some other “Stuff Happens” card for this “Stuff Happens” card takes care ofpolicy or procedure may stipulate. exception. Students don’t have to get most emergency situations. It coversNot having the wisdom of Solomon, her approval or permission to use the the conscientious student who maymost faculty struggle to fairly adjudi- card. Use of it is entirely at their dis- occasionally have a problem. Othercate between the real and unreal cretion. However, each student gets students are probably going to needreasons offered for noncompliance. only one card, which is not transfer- more instructor feedback anyway. Professor Daniela A. Feenstra, who able and won’t be replaced if lost.teaches a variety of business classes If no “stuff happens” during aat Central Pennsylvania College, has given a semester and a studentdeveloped an interesting way through follows all classroom policies andthis dilemma. On the first day of class procedures, the “Stuff Happens” cardshe gives each student a “Stuff may be traded in the last week ofHappens” card. It’s about the size of class for 20 bonus points.a business card and also includes the Sometimes more than one “stuffsemester date and a place for the happens” event may occur during the10 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know • www.FacultyFocus.com
  • 11. Examples in this second categoryHumor: Getting a Handle on include some teasing of student groups or individual students, orWhat’s Appropriate some stereotypical student behavior such as procrastinating. The remainder of the appropriate examples were self-disparaging humor in which the instructor made jokes orBy Mary C. Clement told stories that poked fun at or belittled him or herself. Then there was a very small category of uninten- he contribution that humor as using weird names in math word tional or unplanned humor whenT makes to learning is well estab- lished in research. It is not thathumor causes learning; rather, it helps problems; referring to aspects of content with humorous names, such as calling bacteria “baby beasties”; something funny happened sponta- neously in class. Equally valuable in this research is the analysis of inappropriate humor,to create conditions conducive to using different voices; wearing funnylearning. It helps learners relax, allevi- clothing; or telling stories about for which students offered 513ates stress, and often makes it easier family or college days. The best news examples, which researchers againfor students and teachers to connect is that all of these kinds of humor placed in four categories: disparagingpersonally. The presence of humor in have the same positive impact on humor targeting students, disparaginga classroom can be very beneficial. learning environments. humor targeting others, offensive But there are a couple of problems. The purpose of the study referenced humor, and self-disparaging humor.First, faculty often don’t think of below was to identify what students More than 40 percent of thethemselves as funny—some are, but consider appropriate and inappropri- examples fell into the first categorymost academics would not make a ate humor. Researchers did that by where instructors disparaged studentsliving as stand-up comedians. In fact, asking 284 undergraduates to list individually or collectively. Studentsany number of faculty cannot success- several examples of “appropriate and were disparaged for their lack of intel-fully tell a joke, even after carefully suitable” humor and then asking ligence, gender, or appearance, asrehearsing the lines and easing their them to do the same for humor that well as for their opinions.tension with liquid libations. So, how was “offensive and/or not fitting for When the disparaging humormight a serious academic find his or the class.” The students had no targeted others, it used stereotypesher way to humor that works in the trouble identifying examples in both and such specific group characteristicsclassroom? categories. as gender, race/ethnicity, or university And then there’s the problem of This student sample generated 712 affiliation. Some inappropriate humorpropriety. Not all humor is appropri- examples of appropriate teacher examples were listed as offensiveate, especially given the commitment humor, which researchers placed in because they contained sexualof higher education to cultural four different categories. The first, material or vulgar verbal or nonverbalrespect, diversity, and equality. If you which contained almost half the listed expressions, or they were toocan’t make jokes about ethnicity, examples, researchers called “related personal.politics, religion, or sex, is there humor.” This humor linked with In conclusion, researchersanything left for one-liners? course materials; examples included a encourage faculty to explore humor Fortunately some recent research physics instructor who regularly related to the course content. Studentsoffers help on both fronts. For faculty played with a Slinky to demonstrate always considered it appropriate.who don’t think they can be funny in certain physics principles or another Moreover, many reported that itthe classroom, there is a wide range who used course material in jokes: helped them relate and recallof different kinds of humor. Options “What do you call someone who likes important course information.abound. Early research (referenced to go out a lot?” Answer: “Fungi.”below) identified seven different kinds The second category was unrelated Reference: Wanzer, M. B., Frymier,of humor: funny stories, funny humor. These first two categories A. B., Wojtaszczyk, A. M., and Smith,comments, jokes, professional humor, contained more than 90 percent of the T. 2006. Appropriate and inappropri-puns, cartoons, and riddles. And each examples students provided, although ate uses of humor by teachers.of these kinds of humor can be researchers note that there was Communication Education 55 (2):employed with great creativity, such overlap between the two categories. 178–96. 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know • www.FacultyFocus.com 11
  • 12. phones, and any disruptiveA Behavior Contract That behavior as defined by each professor, etc.Made a Difference 5.I understand it is my responsibility to take the online content pre- and post-test(s) by the assigned date(s). 6.I understand it is my responsibilityBy Lori Norin and Tom Walton to complete the written pre- and post-assessment(s) by the assigned date (PRCA, Speech t seemed that almost every day we At the end of each semester, we Anxiety, Listening).I would come back to our offices after our speech classes with afrown on our faces and the need to tell revise the document based on the events of the previous semester. For example, we added a statement con- 7.I understand it is my responsibility to complete all assignments on time and that there are penalties for late assignments (if allowed) ata story about the latest shenanigans cerning the campus electronic policythat happened in class. A student “ac- based on a serious plagiarism case each professor’s discretion.cidentally” showed an inappropriate that occurred in one of our sections. 8.I agree that if I don’t understandimage on a PowerPoint slide during Once it became prevalent and blatant, an assignment it is my responsibil-his speech. A student walked in 20 we added a statement about text ity to ask for clarification.minutes late during a classmate’s messaging in class. Some of our other 9.I understand my professor’s policyspeech—with a pizza in one hand, a colleagues are using contracts similar about being tardy and the conse-Mountain Dew in the other, and a cell to ours, and they report the same quences of not following his/herphone on one ear. A student refused to positive effect. We hope that by policy.give her speech as scheduled and sharing our contract, you will consider 10. I understand the ramifications ofdared us to do something about it. how it might help in creating an ideal missing a scheduled speaking day. Finally, one day we decided we had learning environment in your 11. I understand that should I misshad enough. We created a list of be- classroom. class it is my responsibility to gethavioral expectations, which we asked any handouts, etc.students to sign, and thus was born Classroom Ethics Contract 12. I understand it is my responsibil-the Speech Department Behavior 1.I received, read, and understand ity to check my e-mail daily orContract. Since then it has grown into the department general syllabus weekly depending on mya well-defined instrument that has had for this course, including the at- professor’s guidelines.as much impact on student retention, tendance policy. 13. I understand it is my responsibil-success, and well-being as any other 2.I understand failure to sign an at- ity to follow directions and thatstrategy we have added to the curricu- tendance sheet at the appropriate failure to do so will result in a losslum. time and date results in me being of points. Initially the document contained 10 marked absent. 14. I understand it is my responsibil-items—rudimentary things like 3.I verify that my professor has ity to read and follow thestudents taking responsibility for requested that I meet with Electronic Communications Policy.reading the syllabus, signing the atten- him/her first should I have any The link is available at the bottomdance sheet, taking the pretests and concerns about the conduct of the of the UA-Fort Smith homepagepre-assessments, meeting deadlines, course. If that meeting does not http://www.etc., and understanding the conse- resolve the concerns, then my uafortsmith.edu.quences of making excuses for missing professor will recommend I meet 15. I understand I should not enterspeeches. Even in its early format, the with the department’s lead faculty the classroom during a studentcontract positively impacted retention member or department chair. speech. I should wait to hearand behavior in the classroom as 4.I understand that my professor applause and then enter.observed by us and noted by our expects respect from everyone in 16. I understand that plagiarism ofdean. Students told us that they appre- the classroom at all times. This any kind will not be tolerated andciated the precise listing of their re- includes rules about sleeping, in- may result in receiving a zero (0)sponsibilities because it made the appropriate talking, rudeness, for the assignment, withdrawalrules and consequences clear. doing homework, answering cell PAGE 1312 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know • www.FacultyFocus.com
  • 13. FROM PAGE 12 MP3 players must be turned off mental document. during class and that each 21. I understand that failure to sign from the course, or suspension professor may, at his/her discre- this document does not exclude from the university. tion, enforce a consequence for me from its requirements. 17. I understand that cell phones any music being played during must be turned off or turned to class. Student Signature: vibrate during class and that 19. I read, understand, and agree to _________________________ each professor may, at his/her abide by the student handbook discretion, enforce a consequence guidelines for classroom ethics. Class Time: for any cell phone ringing or text 20. I understand that each __________________________ messaging during class. professor may add additional 18. I understand that iPods and/or rules in writing to this depart-Preventing Cheating: Do Faculty BeliefsMake a Difference?By Maryellen Weimer We believe that student beliefs “Looking at the data this way leads to the actual frequency of misconduct.”“ about their peers … can influence misconduct, whilefaculty beliefs about student academic a different conclusion from examina- tion of overall misconduct rates.” (p. 1078) (p. 1076) As for the actual hypotheses about faculty beliefs, they were verified. “Our results showed thatmisconduct can influence efforts to The activity students reported doing faculty members who underestimateprevent and challenge the miscon- least often was “improperly” the frequency of misconduct veryduct.” (p. 1059) Said another way, the acquiring or distributing exams. The rarely take action to challengeresearchers (citation below) are afraid activity they reported doing most students’ misconduct.” (p. 1076)that if students think that a lot of their often involved working with another Their results also verified the reverse.peers are cheating, it will increase the student on material that would be Faculty who overestimated the extentlikelihood that they will cheat. And, if submitted for grading when the in- of cheating were more solicitous infaculty believe that lots of students structor had not authorized collabora- their efforts to prevent it.are cheating, they will do more to tion with others. Results here Researchers advise that both facultyprevent it. Conversely, if faculty don’t replicated another finding docu- and students should be providedthink academic dishonesty is much of mented by previous research: males accurate information as to the extenta problem in their classes, they will reported more incidents of miscon- of academic misconduct occurring atdo less to prevent it and make it duct than females. an institution. Faculty “need to sendeasier for students to get away with it. These researchers found that for [the] message to students through This study did reaffirm that every one of the 16 behaviors of prevention and detection efforts.” (p.cheating among students (at this insti- academic dishonesty, students 1076)tution), as reported by students, is believed that their peers werewidespread. More than 90 percent of engaging in those behaviors more Reference: Hard, S. F., Conway, J.the more than 400 students in this often than their peers reported. The M., and Moran, A C. (2006). Facultysample admitted that they had researchers worried that these inaccu- and college student beliefs about thecheated at least once. The researchers rate beliefs empower students to cheat frequency of student academic mis-pointed out that data on cheating that more since they believe that conduct. Journal of Higher Education,differentiates between if and how “everyone else” is doing it. 77 (6), 1058-1080.often are not generally reported. Faculty in this study “overestimated 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know • www.FacultyFocus.com 13
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