Healthy Learning and Positive Classroom Environment
The goal of Ridgewater College is to provide students with the knowledge, skill and wisdom they need to contribute to society in constructive ways. Policies, procedures, and regulations are formulated to guarantee each student’s freedom to learn and to protect the fundamental rights of others. People must treat each other with dignity and respect in order for everyone to thrive.
In an academic community, students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Students are expected to adhere to behavioral standards that support and foster a learning environment.
Faculty have the professional responsibility to treat students with understanding, dignity and respect, to guide classroom discussion and to set reasonable limits on the manner in which students express opinions.
- The development of agreements with the class: During the first session, classroom behavioral agreements will usually be established and discussed. Agreeing to treat one another with respect and courtesy will support an environment conducive to learning.
- General word of caution: If potentially disruptive behavior is occurring, a general word of caution to the class rather than directed at a particular student may be effective in deterring a problem.
- Immediate response: If it is necessary to deal with behavior during class, the instructor will do so firmly but politely, and the student will be directed to wait after class to discuss the matter further. Students can expect the instructor to notify the Office of Student Conduct/Dean of Students if there is a concern about recurrences in the future.
- Threatening behavior: If the well being of the instructor or other students is threatened or harm is imminent, police will be called (911) immediately and have the student removed from the classroom. Following class, the instructor will notify the Dean of Students and provide pertinent information about the student, the student’s behavior, and witnesses to the behavior.
What constitutes “Disruption”?
- In extreme cases, physical threats, harassing behavior or personal insults, or refusal to comply with faculty direction
- Interrupting other speakers or persistently speaking without being recognized
- Behavior that distracts the class from the subject matter or discussion
- Behavior that a reasonable faculty member would view as interfering with normal academic functions
What constitutes Harassment?
In most classroom settings, the large majority of students are very respectful of others and never cause problems in class that detract from the overall learning experience. Nonetheless, some problems have increased over the years, and this may be due in part to changes in the culture. For those few students who engage in behavior that disturbs others, it is important to remember that when one enters a higher-education classroom you are no longer in high school, you are not in a theater, you are not in a video arcade, you are not at a sporting event or concert. You are in a college classroom, and the expectations of you are very specific. It is important for students to develop an understanding in several important areas right at the beginning of this class
Everyone benefits from a favorable teaching/learning environment. Distracting behavior works against the establishment of such an environment. This reminder is to draw attention to some common behaviors that interfere with the rights of others to an optimal learning experience. The key to thoughtful behavior is awareness, and this statement is intended to encourage developing the habit of automatically thinking of the impact of classroom behavior on others and to help us be considerate to fellow students and to professors and instructors.
It is hoped that everyone will be thoughtful of others in the common teaching/learning endeavor. To do so we sometimes must temper spontaneity and individual expression with restraint. Most importantly, we must cultivate consciousness of the impact on others even of what might appear to be innocent or trivial behavior.
Instructors will advise you regarding the expectations for the class in areas such as:
- Class Attendance
- Entering and Exiting the Classroom
- Avoiding Rudeness – Activities such as sleeping, reading, and listening to a Walkman, IPODS, etc. should be avoided.
- Other Matters – Make sure cell phones are turned off before entering class or leave them outside. The same applies to wristwatch alarms and beepers.