Based on teaching experiences, how would you define incivility
PSY-850 Mock Interview Resource
1. Describe some student behaviors that you observe in your undergraduate classes that are problematic. What made them problematic? Give me an example from last week.
Some problematic behaviors are negative attitudes, entitlement, negative communication styles, and the tendency to argue. These are problematic because they disrupt the flow of the classroom, they have a negative effect on the collaborative piece, and they cause tension and stress.
Last week, I dealt with a negative attitude in one of my online classes. My students were to exchange papers to provide feedback on a 10-page paper they were working on. Students were to provide feedback focused on content and there was a rubric style feedback form for them to follow. One student turned her paper in 48 hours late, so I posted in the classroom asking if there was anyone willing to pick up the paper to provide feedback.
Two students picked up the paper and they both provided feedback that was mainly focused on content and writing choice. The comments they gave were pretty similar — both picked up on problems with structure and organization, and made some suggestions to strengthen a few areas. Both made a general observation that although the feedback wasn’t supposed to be based on grammar and mechanics, the paper’s grammar and mechanical issues were detracting from the readability. Both suggested careful editing. The feedback given was a good mix of positive and constructive feedback, and it was delivered in a professional manner.
The student receiving the feedback was not pleased. She posted in the discussion board that she felt ridiculed and shamed. She said she was going to contact her advisor and have the assignment and the feedback reviewed because it wasn’t fair and it wasn’t constructive. She also sent personal e-mails to both of the students that provided the feedback (one of which, she pointed out a couple of grammatical errors in the feedback itself) telling them both that they needed to consider other peoples’ feelings before tearing up and redlining somebody’s work. She also e-mailed me and told me that she received hurtful response e-mails from both students that were “full of insults” and “degrading.” As it turned out, the student could not produce a copy of those e-mails when asked by her advisor, and subsequently she dropped the program.
2. Based on teaching experiences, how would you define incivility?
Incivility is any behavior or incident that negatively affects the positive culture of a classroom, and interferes with the learning process for groups or individuals. Incivility in any learning environment can take the focus off the student and disrupt progress towards the common achievement goals of the classroom. Additionally, incivility can bring a level of stress and strife into the classroom.
3. What are some behaviors that you would describe as uncivil? When was the last time this occurred? What happened?
· Arguing with someone in a discussion forum. I deal with this once a term or so – the last time was about two weeks ago when somebody responded to a post by simply saying “I disagree.” The original poster managed to stay out of it, but before I even got back in the classroom (and I sign in daily) three people had responded negatively. I had to step in and redirect the focus.
· Rude comments. For the most part, students I’ve worked with have been polite and courteous to one another. About six months ago, I was on a group video conference with a cohort of students, when one told another student she was “a good looking woman, and maybe that’s why she is so cocky.” Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with that one on my own.
· I had a student that responded to a discussion post from another student by saying that her post was too hard to read because all of the errors in her writing. I handled it by e-mailing the individual and asking her to remove her comment and keep future comments focused on extending the discussion or reflecting on the material.
4. Can you share one or two examples of student incivility that you have experienced in classes?
I had a student complain in the discussion board about a writing tutor associated with the university. He mentioned the tutor’s name, and complained in detail about the advice that was being given.
5. How do you feel when students are uncivil?
When students are uncivil in my class, I feel like I have the responsibility to step in and redirect the conversation because it affects the culture of my classroom. Relationships, communication, and that circle of peers is important to the success of my programs. Uncivil behavior disrupts the culture of my classroom, and I fear that it will leave individual students with a negative view of not only my class, but my teaching.
6. What factors or situations contribute to student incivility in your classes?
· If I am not present in my classroom and participating actively in the discussion that can contribute to a culture of incivility.
· Use of sarcasm or sardonic comments.
· Allowing students to control the discussion.
· Making evaluative comments on student submissions where other members of the class can see.
· Allowing for discussion to get off topic and away from the material.
7. What strategies do you use to handle incidents of student incivility in your classes?
· I try to prevent it in the first place. At the beginning of every class, I post an announcement just kind of giving an overview of the expectations for classroom/discussion conduct and some general guidelines for acceptable and professional behavior in the classroom.
· I try to direct the conversation and keep it focused on the content by asking questions in response to posts that keep the conversation heading in the way I want it to go.
· If a problem does arise, I try to redirect the conversation and return to an acceptable topic.
· If there is a problem, I address it individually with the students involved, reminding them of the classroom discussion and communication expectations.
· If it is something that I feel like I’m going to lose control of, or is escalating, I will contact my course administrator and seek the counsel and involvement of the necessary admin.
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