Classroom Decorum


Is the behavior we see today in the classroom simply a reflection of what we see in the wider world? Has the level of classroom decorum changed so much over the years? Are the specific issues that we face today insurmountable? These are some of the issues that Dr. Cora Dzubak discusses in her 2008 article, Classroom Decorum:  What's Happening and Does it Matter?


Faculty members may be experiencing some of the following in their classes: culture clash of expectations between faculty and students, students who find it difficult to work in groups because of the increasing anonymity within society, impacts of an overly consumeristic culture, self-esteem prized above performance, and specific gender issues for faculty. All or any of these issues could cause things to stir in the classroom.


To combat incivility when (or before) it arises, Dzubak recommends setting the desired behavioral parameters and tone from the first day of class and to use positive reinforcement to influence behavior... that is, "Catch students in the act of doing something good". She also suggests maintaining high expectations of civility. In other words, model the way you expect students to behave and address issues soon after they arise, privately. Don't let bad behavior become habitual. Additionally, instructors should set clear and attainable goals and work to create a positive classroom climate that is conducive to learning.


"Modeling respect, reinforcement for acceptable behaviors, and consequences for classroom incivilities will allow effective teaching to occur.  Establishing a classroom environment that is reflective of mutual respect and high expectations improves attitude and increases academic motivation... Each professor has the capacity, opportunity, and responsibility to establish appropriate decorum in his/her own classroom.  When this occurs, effective teaching and learning will naturally follow."


To read the entire article, visit the link below

Dzubak, C. M. (2008, March 7). ATP Synergy. Classroom decorum:  What's happening and does it matter?

Retrieved November 18, 2008, from The Association for the Tutoring Profession: