Classroom Management and Managing Controversy


Successful teaching often depends on classroom management skills that help an instructor deal effectively with a range of student behaviors and also handle the “hot moments” that may arise in classroom discussions of controversial issues. The sites below provide guidelines and methods for managing the classroom in a variety of circumstances.


Classroom Management

Classroom Management,” Lisa Rodriguez, Ph.D.
This article discusses a wide range of student classroom behaviors from the annoying to the disruptive and suggests “preventive strategies and practical solutions.”

Scenes from a Classroom: Managing Conflict (University of Minnesota, Center for Teaching and Learning Services).
An online video workshop with ten scenarios of difficult moments between student and instructor followed by advice from teaching consultants for ways each situation might be handled.

Creating Discussion Guidelines (University of Berkeley, Teaching Guide for Graduate Student Instructors).
Presents several methods for establishing discussion ground rules co-operatively with students. This website also contains links to numerous topics in classroom management and teaching techniques.

Scheduled course work (class activities, tests, projects) in ways which encouraged students to stay up-to-date in their work,” Michael Theall, Youngstown State University. (IDEA Center Note #3).
Discusses the importance of organizing a course so that students can develop time management skills that will help them plan and carry out coursework effectively.

NEXT: Narratives Supporting Excellent Teaching (National Science Foundation and U of Washington).
Although these narratives focus on engineering, the issues they confront are common to all disciplines. For example: poor student performance, low student ratings, adult learners, bored students, etc. Each narrative is analyzed and accompanied by strategies and tips for dealing with the issue. Links lead to illustrations and examples.

A Handbook for Student Management Teams, Edward Nuhfer (Idaho State University, Center for Teaching and Learning).
The complete manual for using Student Management Teams (STMs), a classroom strategy in which a team of students from the class meets regularly throughout the semester both with and without the professor “to discuss how teaching and learning might be improved and to define positive actions that will help reap immediate and long-term benefits.”

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Teaching Controversial Issues

Managing Hot Moments in the Classroom,” Lee Warren (Harvard University, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning).
Strategies for turning “hot moments” in the classroom into learning opportunities for students.

Inclusive Practices for Managing Controversial Issues (Flinders University, Adelaide, AU, Teaching for Learning Website).
This site presents specific strategies for teaching controversial issues in order to enable students to become critically reflective thinkers.

Start Talking:  A Handbook for Engaging Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education,” a partnership between the University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University; Kay Landis, editor. 
This handbook describes in detail a program for faculty designed to teach them methods for dealing effectively with controversy in the classroom, for engaging students in difficult dialogues on topics such as race, class and culture; science, religion; business, politics, and social justice.  The handbook includes invaluable material for success with these difficult issues in the classroom.

Stop Talking:  Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning and Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education,” Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff and Libby Roderick, University of Alaska Anchorage; Kay Landis, editor.
The extension of the program described above to focus on Native cultures and peoples, guided by Alaskan native teachers.


Ferguson in the Classroom

Click here for a page of links to resources for faculty who wish to discuss the Ferguson unrest in their classrooms.

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See also on this website
Civility/Incivility in the College Classroom
Dealing with Difficult Students

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