Faculty Development & Learning Assessment

Dealing with Problematic Interactions with Students: Guidelines and Strategies for Consideration


Wondering what to do when you have problematic student behavior in the classroom? Take a look at the various guidelines and strategies available:


  1. Use the CSU Student Code of Conduct and HSU Attendance & Disruptive Behavior Policy to determine when student behavior interferes with the progress of your class.
  2. Differentiate between academic assessment (professional judgment concerning academic performance) and student conduct (fact, behavior that is not academic).
  3. Differentiate between a disciplinary problem and a student disability or cultural/socioeconomic differences.
  4. Be aware of rights of due process. http://www.humboldt.edu/~studaff/judicial/due_process.php
  5. Present formal warning as problematic interactions escalate. (Recommend that the verbal warning is followed with a summary of the warning in writing.)
  6. Keep supervising faculty members informed of problematic interactions with students.
  7. Document (for your own records) repeated disruptive behaviors as part of Due Process.
  8. Use the appropriate campus resources to assist you in interacting with students.

Classroom Strategies:

  1. Use the first day of class to establish climate for learning and set minimal guidelines for communication.
  2. Identify special rules of conduct that operate within your classroom. (Recommend that these rules be listed in course syllabus.)
  3. Send signals that you are in control of the classroom environment.
  4. Consider frequency, seriousness, and outcomes when deciding how to respond to problematic student behavior.
  5. Be increasingly direct as student misconduct escalates.
  6. Use eye contact and proximity as methods of control.
  7. Pause as problematic interactions begin to escalate.
  8. Use a collaborative orientation (as opposed to I-You or We-They).
  9. Couch reactions in terms of concern for student learning.
  10. Show respect for your views and those of students.

Written by Tasha Souza.