Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Ways to Deal with Rude Students in Class

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Ways to Deal with Rude Students in Class

Article excerpt

Regarding your March 21 article, "Professors struggle to rout out rudeness": While instructors have classroom management responsibilities, it is also true that students have a vested interest in promoting a culture of civility that supports debate and dialogue.

In a junior-level course that I teach, an abrasive and belligerent student prompted two classmates to meet with the judicial affairs officer to learn how they might protect their rights to a classroom free from disruption.

The next class, when the disruptive student was absent, they reported what they learned. The class then decided to give the student one last opportunity to shape up or they would file a formal complaint. The disruptive student chose to withdraw from the class.

Regarding the notion of students as consumers: It suggests that obtaining an education is no different than purchasing an appliance or obtaining a membership to a health club. As a colleague once described, we provide the environment, the resources, and the faculty. Students who take the utmost advantage of what we provide gain the precious "commodity" of an education. But an education, like muscle and fitness, does not come without the investment of effort and dedication. An education is not an appliance. A student is not a consumer.

David Bozak Oswego, N.Y.

To excuse college students' rude behavior by saying they "haven't been prepared for the culture of higher learning" is absurd. My teaching experience has shown that some students will be as obnoxious as they're allowed to be. Shame on professors who suffer such boorishness.

Jim H. Thompson Bozeman, Mont.

My wife and I both teach at a middle-size public university and we often compare notes on this issue. The audacity of some students never ceases to amaze us.

The problem of rude behavior on the part of students is very widespread. As professors, our job is to teach the subject in which we have considerable expertise. It is also to help students learn how to think at a higher level. …

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