Technique - Situationally Appropriate Response

Address disruptive behaviors immediately. Clear and concise instructional directives are your first line of defense.

Level 1 (naïve disruptions):

  • State your expectation for termination of the behavior.
  • Use constructive comments that do not belittle the student.
  • Refer to previously established classroom rules. Make a note of the exchange.

Level 2 (intentional disruptions):

  • Set limits and state consequences for continued disruptions.
  • Meet with student after class or during office hours (in a public place). Document the exchange.

Level 3 (challenging behaviors):

  • Stay on topic; don’t get pulled into the fray.
  • Give immediate and specific directive with consequences.
  • Meet with student after class or during office hours (in a public place).
  • Get help from a colleague, department chair, counselor, dean of students, or other campus resource.
  • Document the exchange.

Level 4 (refusal):

  • Set and enforce limits. Initiate a class break.
  • During the break, inform the student that he or she may not return to class until after meeting with you or other university authorities and getting permission.
  • After the situation is under control, document the incident and inform the appropriate authority on your campus.

Level 5 (intimidations and/or threats):

  • Get away from the student. Have a colleague escort you to safety if possible.
  • Notify your university police.
  • After the situation is under control, document the incident and inform the appropriate authority on your campus.