Students at all levels of education may engage in disruptive behaviors, such as talking in class, demanding a grade change, using cell phones for non-class purposes, etc. Such disregard for courtesy impedes learning by interfering with students’ ability to focus and wasting class time. This paper will discuss two examples of student misconduct — tardiness and talking in class — and research-based rules, procedures, and policies that can be used by teachers to manage these behaviors effectively.
One example of students’ disregard for courtesy is arriving late. This behavior impedes learning because, by arriving after the class has started, the student disrupts the teacher’s instructional flow and breaks the classmates’ engagement (Cannon, 2020). Moreover, late arrivals may impede the learning of the tardy students because they can miss a portion of the material delivered during their absence. Several procedures can help teachers address this issue; first, educators should make sure that all instructional materials are accessible to students at all times (Cannon, 2020). Second, teachers can write directions and put them in a place visible for tardy students (Cannon, 2020). This way, students arriving late will be able to see what is expected of them and will not have to interrupt the teacher.
Additionally, since every minute is important in the classroom, teachers should take measures to reduce the number of tardy students and the frequency of late arrivals. To achieve these improvements, teachers should develop a set of rules regulating classroom attendance. One recommended rule is that tardy students should document their tardiness in a journal, indicating whether their late arrival is excused or unexcused, and attach an excuse slip (Sprick & Berg, 2019). Students are expected to make a note in the journal right after they quietly enter the classroom and then proceed to their seats quietly and join classroom activities. When using this rule, the teacher should not stop delivering the lesson to avoid losing students’ engagement, and any communication with the tardy student should not be conducted at the expense of the class time (Sprick & Berg, 2019). These rules should be taught to students at the beginning of the year. As for tardiness policies, they should include educating parents about sleeping habits (Sprick & Berg, 2019). Moreover, since late arrivals do not pose serious threats to others, policies should not provide severe sanctions for this misconduct.
Another example of student behavior that impedes learning is talking in class. Due to this behavior, students may lose focus, making it difficult for them to grasp the learning material. According to Itzkovich et al. (2020), this misconduct often stems from teachers’ ineffective classroom management. To address this problem, teachers should develop classroom rules and expectations together with students. When students participate in rule development, they are more likely to follow them because it gives them a sense of control and ownership (Franklin & Harrington, 2019). One particular rule that can help deal with talking in class is asking students to raise their hands whenever they want to say something (Cannon, 2020). When students break this rule and talk without permission, teachers should not lose their temper; instead, they may remind the misbehaving student of the rules and encourage him or her to follow them.
To address the issue of talking in class, teachers should revise the procedures and policies they use to interact with students. Research shows that students misbehave more often when teachers’ lesson plans are not engaging and when there is a large power distance in the teacher-student relationships (Itzkovich et al., 2020). Specific procedures to address these problems include designing learning activities based on differences in student abilities, holding classroom meetings, and allowing students to make their own decisions regarding their learning (Franklin & Harrington, 2019). Furthermore, policies that are used for discussing this type of student misbehavior should not include emotionally charged language and severe sanctions (Hughes et al., 2020). Moreover, policies should be followed consistently by teachers, principals, and other school staff because non-uniform rule enforcement is perceived by students as unfair and increases their noncompliance with school discipline (Morrison, 2018). Hence, the rules and policies should be made explicit to students and applied uniformly in similar cases.
In conclusion, students’ disregard for courtesy disrupts learning in the classroom. For example, tardiness may interrupt the teacher’s delivery of the instructional material, distract students, and lead tardy students to have lower academic achievement. Talking in class may impede learning by preventing students from focusing on the instructional material. To address these misbehaviors, teachers can develop specific rules, for example, requiring tardy students to enter the classroom quietly without interrupting the teacher or classmates or asking students to raise their hands before talking. Engaging students in rule development can improve the enforcement of the desired behaviors. To discuss and teach student behavior, teachers should conduct lessons devoted to discipline at the beginning of the year. The procedures to enforce behaviors may include requiring tardy students to document their late arrivals in a journal and allowing students to make their learning-related decisions. Finally, since the described behaviors are not associated with a serious threat to others, policies addressing these types of misconduct should not entail severe sanctions and should be applied consistently throughout the educational institution.
Cannon, P. (2020). What’s your procedure for that? A classroom management guide from morning meeting to dismissal. Teachers Make the Difference.
Franklin, H., & Harrington, I. (2019). A review into effective classroom management and strategies for student engagement: Teacher and student roles in today’s classrooms. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 7(12), 1-12.
Hughes, T., Raines, T., & Malone, C. (2020). School pathways to the juvenile justice system. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 7(1), 72-79.
Itzkovich, Y., Alt, D., & Dolev, N. (2020). The challenges of academic incivility. Springer.
Morrison, K. (2018). Students’ perceptions of unfair discipline in school. The Journal of Classroom Interaction, 53(2), 21-45.
Sprick, J., & Berg, T. (2019). Teacher’s guide to tackling attendance challenges. ASCD.