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Responding to Disruptions in the Classroom


While energized discussion can be good, disrespectful disruptions can turn into a serious problem in some classrooms. The University of Washington Center for Teaching and Learning website investigates causes of these types of disruptions. In turn it describes simple steps that professors can take to avoid disturbances. Suggestions include utilizing the syllabus, establishing ground rules, and responding in the moment. Suggested practices, samples, and additional resources are also available.

Key Points

  • A syllabus should set expecations and provide a contract between students and professors
  • Involving students in setting ground rules can create more buy-in from them
  • Remain calm and hear concerns when disruptions do occur
  • Be consistent with your expectations and responses to other students


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Strategies & Methods