Classroom civility is not something to take lightly. Instructors and students alike should be held to a particular standard when it comes to how they interact with one another in the classroom. Instructors and students come from all walks of life and thus differ and diverge along many lines (e.g., political, cultural, spiritual, sexual, educational and socioeconomic). Given these varied backgrounds and the culture of sharing views that many university classrooms embody, there are certain considerations to keep in mind.
As instructors, we should take a few steps to ensure that our classroom supports respectful interactions and discourages exchanges that are emotionally harmful or offensive to others. You may ask, where do we draw the line? With so many conflicting views among a given student body, we certainly can’t curtail all conversations that stir emotions, but we can ensure that students share a commitment to respect one another, acknowledge that it is OK to ‘agree to disagree’ and that by sharing opposing views, we can come to see things from the perspective of another. The Center for Teaching and Learning at UC Santa Cruz notes that prevention is the best strategy for classroom civility. These tips, from their website, are some ways that you can preemptively address incivility. Continue reading