I am co-leading a program called Multicultural Group Dialogue. It is for
talking to people from other cultures in a safe environment to promote
understanding, respect, and empathic connections and to develop personal
empowerment, inter-group alliances and social justice. It occurs to me
that we might all spend more time to simply have a dialogue characterized
by understanding, respect and empathy before we attempt to teach. In
counseling we learn the importance of establishing the relationship. The
same holds true for teaching/conducting workshop/training. Students who
feel empowered, connected to others, and hold values related to social
justice are not likely to cause behavioral problems in the classroom.


Rosemarie Woodruff
Counseling and Student Development Center
University of Hawaii-Manoa
2600 Campus Road, SSC 312
Honolulu, HI 96822

                The world is full of obstacle illusions.
                                                         Grant Frasier

On Mon, 1 Nov 1999, Jason Sublette wrote:

> I have been hearing the same complaints from instructors all semester.  One
> adult student reported that in her class ten students were so angry about
> their test grades, that they got up together and walked out of the class
> (exams, which they weren't allowed to keep, in hand).  I've met with many
> students over the last two years who get very angry at their instructors
> when they don't do well on exams, even when they haven't studied very hard.
>  The tone (and the language) they use to describe instructors is troubling
> to me, especially when it's a dedicated, superb instructor who happens to
> teach a difficult class.
> The climate in the average classroom is often disturbing, especially in
> freshman-level classes.  A colleague just reported that one of her students
> told her "to be cool," when she asked him to leave (because he was
> sleeping); and of course he didn't leave.  In this same class, a group of
> five students insults and intimidates other students who try to
> participate.  And this is an instructor who is always well-liked,
> well-respected, and in an administrative position.  Another said that one
> student raises her voice and declares, "I'm doing it my way so just leave
> me alone," when he tries to give her advice on her writing assignments.
> It's a big problem all of a sudden and I suspect the new era of television
> (and computer)-as-parent is greatly responsible for our students' brash
> behavior and puzzling overconfidence & cockiness: professional athletes are
> supposed to be mean and tough and outspoken these days--they go after
> referees and coaches, they tell you how great they are; musicians make
> millions being as outrageous and irreverant as possible--they curse at us,
> they make obscene gestures, they poke fun at stereotypical parents; the
> culture of MTV promotes getting attention however you can--taking off your
> clothes, sharing intimate details of your life, acting like you're an
> adult.  And of course now you can get attention from millions by creating
> your own web page.  This makes your opinion automatically count, even
> though it may be ill-informed, skewed, or not relevant.
> Another factor seems to be that students today feel entitled to things
> (including acting however they feel, whenever they feel) because they have
> been living like adults for too long.  They work full time, they take care
> of brothers and sisters, they counsel emotionally-disturbed parents, they
> deal with drugs and violent crime.
> I try to teach students that this behavior is going to be self-destructive
> in the end.  If you get to spend a lot of time with these kids, you find
> that most of them are angry.  Most are relatively respectful one-on-one,
> especially if they think you care.
> Solution:  hard work, I think, for all of us at the university.  We have to
> address this problem before it gets out of control.  We have to, as
> faculty, staff, and administration, have a long discussion about why kids
> are angry and disrespectful.  And yes, we will have to create behavior
> policies.  Most of us aren't good at this kind of discipline, but we're
> going to have to be.  Of course we can address the "culture of the
> university" we strive for in FYE classes, but I suspect we have to be ready
> to fight for a calm, safe class environment.
> Jason Sublette
> Aurora University
> At 01:41 PM 11/1/99 -0500, Daryl Stephens wrote:
> >Recently several of my colleagues and I had noticed that there seems to be a
> >great deal more immature behavior than usual among our students this semester
> >--mostly talking in class and coming in late or leaving early.  At our state
> >developmental conference last week, I talked to instructors from several
> >points in the state, and they had noticed the same problems--actually
> having to
> >ask students to be quiet or leave the room if they were going to have
> >non-content-related conversations during class.
> >
> >Is this a problem nationwide this year?  (I think this year's college
> freshmen
> >are the group that were in fourth grade the last year I taught fifth grade in
> >another state, and I remember that bunch being less well-behaved than most
> >groups.)
> >
> >
> >Daryl Stephens  <[log in to unmask]>
> >Assistant Professor (math)
> >Division of Developmental Studies
> >East Tennessee State University
> >Box 70620, Johnson City, TN 37614
> >Office phone (423) 439-4676   Fax:  (423) 439-7446
> >
> >