Would you be willing to post the article you co-wrote on "the use of the
college culture"?  I would think this would be useful to many of us.

Catherine Schnare
Selkirk College

-----Original Message-----
From: Amy J. Crouse-Powers <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: November 6, 1999 5:37 PM
Subject: Re: Student behavior - I am thinking...

>I haven't had a chance to read all of the responses to this line, but I
>must chime in anyway.  I hope I am not being redundant redundant.
>I was shocked and dismayed at student behavior one semester when I taught
>basic English at an urban CC in Baltimore.  I was in a computer-assisted
>room that had swivel chairs at each workstation.  On the first day of
>class, I had students zooming across the floor, swiveling and staring at
>the ceiling, carrying on LOUD side-conversations, interrupting me with
>completely unrelated questions -- all while I was trying to go over the
>syllabus.  Over the following two weeks, the behavior just got worse and
>worse.  I was starting to have panic attacks while I was driving to work
>because I didn't know how to deal with these what were to me bizarre
>behaviors!  I hadn't pursued a degree in secondary education because I
>didn't want to have to deal with discipline issues in the classroom.  But
>there I was.  Making a long story short, I had one student who was
>clearly bipolar, one who turned out to be autistic, one who had mental
>retardation, and a few others with severe ADHD.  The others hadn't made
>the bridge from high school mentality yet.
>Out of pure frustration, I consulted a counselor friend of mine who had
>dealt with developmental students in a program that taught social skills,
>job skills, etc.  She came in and gave them a spiel about "The Culture of
>College."  It is based on Ellis' Becoming a Master Student.
>She came in and gave a very intellectualized lecture about the fact that
>college life has  norms.  She had them brainstorm all the cultures from
>which they came.  She had them compare and contrast those cultures and
>the norms for each.  Then she, quite deftly I must say, focused on the
>behavioral aspects of college.
>Especially in the CC, but also at the university where I teach now, I
>think a lot of the problem is that students just don't get that the
>culture has changed.  The stakes of the game are quite different.
>For the balance of the semester, I had the class do several writing
>assignments about this shift in culture.  They wrote descriptions of this
>culture.  They wrote letters to fictional high school students about this
>shift in culture.  They analyzed themselves as participants in this new
>It worked for me pretty well.  It was a rough semester, but the point was
>made.  I think several of those people benefitted from the direct
>instruction in behavior management, and I never had to "discipline" the
>class and I never had to get really preachy.
>Another tack I have had to take recently is this:  I had two students who
>were cutting up loudly in my class this semester.  I gave them the evil
>eye, which quieted them, but after class, I was able to corner one of
>them and I said, "Tom, I am not going to spend class time asking you to
>be quiet.  That's not my job.  I'm here to teach this class.  And,
>furthermore,  you are an adult.  I am not accustomed to telling adults
>what to do."
>It worked.  Now they just play with their tongue rings there in the back
>row, and even answer a question occasionally!
>My friend and I wrote an article about the use of the culture of college
>thing, but never bothered to try to get it published (I took another job
>and it got shoved to the side, honestly).
>Good luck with your classroom management.  It's a bear sometimes!
>Amy Crouse-Powers
>Learning Support Services
>[log in to unmask]
>Amy Crouse-Powers & Jonathan Powers
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>"The stronger, the more sophisticated and sure of itself the
>society is, the less threated it feels and, consequently, the
>less repressively it reacts." Vladimir Pozner in Parting With Illusions