Educational Outreach and Student Services

Disruptive Student Behavior in the Classroom

Prepared by the Office of General Counsel and Student Life

Classroom conduct

Whenever possible (i.e., early and often), outline and discuss what is acceptable and what is not.

  • You can ask students not to interrupt in class
  • You can designate the instructor as leading the discussion (deciding who can speak, and when)
  • You can limit the topic of discussion to matters you deem relevant to the class

Include a notice on the syllabus. For example:

Students are required to read and act in accordance with university and Arizona Board of Regents policies, including:

The Academic Integrity Policy including: The Academic Integrity Policy: http://www.asu.edu/studentlife/judicial/academic_integrity.htm

The Student Code of Conduct: Arizona Board of Regents Policies 5-301 through 5-308: http://students.asu.edu/srr/code

The Computer, Internet and Electronic Communications Policy: http://www.asu.edu/aad/manuals/acd/acd125.html

Describe all expectations in behavioral terms. Dont forget to address electronic conduct, especially if your class relies on chat rooms or other electronic forms of communication.

Try to address an individual problem after class or during a separate appointment. Develop a script to facilitate this: I see that you are raising some issues that go beyond the scope of the class discussion. I would like to continue this discussion with you [after class / during office hours] but we need to limit the class discussion to [topic].

If a problem continues, consider ways to restructure the learning experience to work around the problem. For example, you may choose to avoid unstructured class discussions. It may be better to go with your second choice of format than to spend unproductive time on a discipline issue that will distract from what you are trying to teach.