Michael Meyer, director of Michigan Tech’s William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning, was quoted in an article in Inside Higher Education about how a professor should regain control of a class (or not lose control in the first place).
How Not to Lose Control of a Class
“I haven’t seen anywhere near somebody losing control to the extent we saw at Texas A&M as it’s been reported, but I have seen cases on different campuses where it’s very clear that the learning is done,” said Michael R. Meyer, a professor of physics and director of Michigan Technological University’s William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning. “That happens when somebody says or does something that fractures the relationship with at least a significant proportion of the students, and there really isn’t a trust anymore.”
At that point, Meyer said, professors and students alike tend to go into “survival” mode, where the goal is simply getting through the end of the course. A common cause of such friction? Students feeling like they’re being held accountable for behavioral expectations that weren’t made clear to them, Meyer said. These expectations go beyond which assignments are due when. Rather, they address such behaviors as cell phone, computer and social media use in class, how to ask questions and what happens when someone shows up late.
“If you don’t address them, or talk about them with students, there’s bound to be bad feelings on both sides,” Meyer said.