Taming the Unruly Elephant in the Classroom

Image by Flickr user digitalART2

College instructors seek creative, sensible ways to manage common distractions (cell phones, side talk, the dog-ate-my-homework) and also face challenging behavior once rare in the traditional college classroom: lack of preparation, an attitude of entitlement to course completion with little effort, hostility, verbal challenges, grade disputes, instructor bullying, low motivation and more. On Wednesday, July 27, 30 USD faculty and staff members attended a CEE workshop on effective classroom management. Participants each shared their own classroom management “stumpers” and five simple principles that provided clear guidance for a professor’s choice of response were discussed.The aim of this workshop, led by two Hawaii Pacific University faculty: Michael Dabney, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center and Milica Barjaktarovic, Ph.D., Professor of Computer Science, was to increase the chances of calm and order, reduce the probability of disruptive behaviors, and increase the trust that underlies successful learning. Feedback about the event was very positive. One participant commented that, “the specific guidelines were all easy to implement. I will revise my syllabus to create a very trusting classroom environment.”

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