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Maintaining Student Discipline. Linda B. Nilson, Ph.D., Director Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation 445 Brackett Hall, Clemson University, USA. The Problem with Incivilit ies. Interfere with student learning, and good students resent them Unnerve instructors.

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maintaining student discipline
Maintaining Student Discipline

Linda B. Nilson, Ph.D., Director

Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation

445 Brackett Hall, Clemson University, USA

the problem with incivilit ies
The Problem with Incivilities
  • Interfere with student learning, and good students resent them
  • Unnerve instructors
key issues about incivility
Key Issues about Incivility
  • What is it?
  • Why the increase?
  • How to prevent/reduce it?
  • How to respond to it?
why the increase
Why the Increase
  • Student diversity
  • Anonymity in large institutions, classes
  • Primary and secondary school culture
  • Required large class taught often by women and young TAs.
  • Indulgent or indifferent parents
  • Materialism, consumption v. learning
  • Student entitlement
  • Everyday cultural norms less formal
prevention command attention
Prevention: Command Attention
  • Good public speaking skills = successful instructor persona = charisma
    • Voice (exercises)
    • Body, esp eye contact (exercises)
    • Elimination of distracting behaviors
    • Balance of lecture (w/stories) and student activities (payoff)
prevention balancing authority and approachability
Prevention: Balancing Authority and Approachability

For Authority

  • Have and enforce conduct rules.

Instructor-generated conduct policies in syllabus OR

Student-generated conduct contract OR

Bills of student rights & responsibilities

2) Have tough policies on attendance, late work, missed tests, cheating, etc. laid out in syllabus (handle any exceptions privately).

3) Have tough penalties for freeloaders in group work in syllabus OR group-generated.

4) Have high expectations; refuse to accept/grade shoddy work.

5) Integrate assignments and activities that get students to do the readings.

6) Accept grading protests only in writing with justifications within a tight time limit (in syllabus); subtract # of points complained about w/o cause.

7) Symbolically reinforce authority if female, small, short.

8) Display class outline or objectives.

for approachability
For Approachability
  • Practice social immediacies.
  • Reward appropriate behavior
  • Model appropriate behavior.
  • Explain why you use the readings, methods, and assignments you do.
  • Schedule activities in lectures every

15-20 min. (for short attention spans).

prevention intelligent planning
Prevention: Intelligent Planning
  • Schedule important announcements and activities at beginning and end of class.
  • Assign student seating (learn names).
  • Induce attendance.
  • Manage computer use.
wise respons e
Wise Response
  • Reinforce main reason for conduct rules: “for your fellow students.”
  • Respond immediately but in calm and “cool” manner—swift but matter-of-fact.
  • Nuisance misconduct (private talks, electronics, monopolizer, question-repeater): Single out student(s) with light touch, humor; divert attention.

Aggressive behavior:

    • Unthreatening verbal: keep private; show empathy.
    • Threatening: move to public area, report to others
    • Disorderly conduct in class: tell student to leave class. If trouble, call security/police. Report to others.
understanding and preventing cheating
Understanding and Preventing Cheating

Linda B. Nilson, Ph.D., Director

Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation

445 Brackett Hall, Clemson University, USA

misrepresents actual student learning
Misrepresents Actual Student Learning
  • Repercussions for student, institution, employers, and society.
  • Course and major exams (entrance)
    • U.S.: course only
    • India: both
key issues about cheating
Key Issues about Cheating
  • Prevalence of cheating
  • Students motivations to cheat
  • Ways to detect it
  • Ways to prevent or reduce it
prevalence of cheating
Prevalence of Cheating
  • 75% of U.S. college students admit to cheating; 90% admit to cheating using Internet (esp. plagiarism).
      • Fewer than 30% of these regret it.
      • Only 7% stop after being caught.
  • Indian students probably similar in courses, but also cheat on entrance and year-end exams.
      • Pay $$$$ for exams; favors the wealthy.
motivations to cheat
Motivations to Cheat
  • U.S.: To be $uccessful with ease
    • Overall moral decline in society: business, religious, and political leaders
    • Students see them as successful and believe few pay a price.
    • Also laziness, desire for better grades, and pressure to succeed
  • India: Hyper-competition over slim chances for success

Student perceptions

    • Cheating normal and barely unethical; everybody’s doing it (varies by institution)
    • Easy to get away with it (large classes, multiple choice exams, online)
    • Small penalties for getting caught
  • Faculty ignore or penalize lightly and don’t put case through official channels.
    • In India, may leak entrance exams for $$$
ways to detect cheating
Ways to Detect Cheating
  • Not video monitoring (Lucknow U.)
  • Use many human eyes and ears to proctor exams.
  • Inspect exams for cheating and assignments for plagiarism
  • Investigate entrance exam leaks and punish perpetrators
ways to prevent or reduce cheating
Ways to Prevent or Reduce Cheating


  • 35 ways for instructors (incl plagiarism)
  • Have strict official channels and put cases through them.
  • Honor codes?
  • Change society to not tolerate ethical behavior! Make “winners” into losers.

Entrance exams

  • Stop exam leaks in universities. OR
  • Establish private testing companies.
  • Admit students on multiple criteria.
  • Long-term:
    • Increase supply of higher educational institutions, incl easier-admission ones.
    • Make jobs not needing college more attractive (other ways to success).
    • Reduce population.

End-of-year exams

  • Too stressful, so encourage cheating
  • Result in short-term surface learning
  • Students need frequent low-stakes testing for feedback (many quizzes) and repetitive exposure to material.