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Incivility in College Classrooms Essay

Incivility thrives through our modern society and into the classrooms and campuses of colleges. Incivility can automatically be thought of as the improper behavior or insulting other people based of race, looks, ect. However, incivility exists in classrooms where the professor experiences disrespect in multiple forms. Colleges obtain a policy towards incivility and proper conduct, however the importance of respect and civility in the actual classroom can be found to be left out. Civility should be a requirement for campuses to preserve courtesy and respect amongst both students and teachers.

In particular, California State University San Marcos has a Standards of Student Contact that lists expectations to avoid situations such as cheating, being involved with drugs, lying to police authorities, ect. These policies revolve around acts that result in major punishment, and does not include civility issues of how students treat each other on campus, or more so the respect that should be maintained in a classroom. The importance of civility on campus and in classrooms should be magnified to create a comfortable, mature environment for students and faculty.

Professors notice a trend in incivility among students including bullying, disrespect towards professors, and a lack of kindness. These factors are consistently ignored and are not given enough attention. Civility on campus is an unrecognized policy that needs to gain awareness. New college students enter their schools with an attitude of entering the real world of adulthood and independence. Unlike high school, college students go through the process of paying for tuition and other college fees to obtain their desired college degree.

As a result of acknowledging their payments towards their classes, a loss of conduct can occur in classrooms. College has a reputation of more freedom when it comes to classrooms. College students know that the classes they go to are being paid for by themselves. Because of this students feel that their choices in college are their own responsibility. They are adults who need to tend for themselves. Although high schools and colleges share a commonality in terms of shaping one’s future, college is its own level of obtaining education. Once a student begins his or her college career, a new world is unraveled.

Many of these newcomers in college are not fully aware of the challenges that they are about to face, thus resulting to misfortunate outcomes that would affect them later on in their lives. There are many responsibilities that need tending once you are a college student. For one, the parental supervision that once existed has disappeared, and many simple tasks and duties that seemed unimportant became major responsibilities that require attention. Paying for the necessities that come with the lifestyle of being self-dependent is basically a college student’s standard of living.

Unlike high school, college students go through the process of paying for tuition and other college fees to obtain their desired college degree. With that said, they are often faced with the sacrifice of leaving class in order for them to go to work, which ultimately is their temporary solution of funding their tuition. Aside from the financial aspect of being a college student, it is also important to acknowledge the fact that they are fully fledged adults. Furthermore, they are under their own rule, thus whatever decision they decide upon affects their own lives, not the professor.

Also, college has standards that are different to that of high schools. Students have the option of leaving whenever they please, because as mentioned earlier, they have many responsibilities that often force them to do so. Though many would concede of such reasons that explain the responsibilities that college students deal on a regular basis, it disregards the larger matter and that is the practice of becoming an adult and how to handle the life ahead of you. This, in fact, is the major weakness of this argument because it only focuses on the notion that is currently present.

It neglects to mention that college is a template of adulthood, and that it is often hard to manage because its purpose is to shape you for the future challenges that you may face in life. It is basically set to difficult levels so that it would enable you to become accustomed of the adult lifestyle. Students can misinterpret the idea of “freedom” in college. Although college is a big step into the adult world versus high school, they may take advantage of that and bring disrespect to campus and the classroom. Maria Shine Stewart notes in her article “Cropping Out Incivility” how unkindness and hate on campus can escalate to violence.

Going into college, some students may feel like they can reform themselves and misuse their high confidence. Immaturity from high school can drag into college and cause bigger problems and even bullying. In high school petty arguments come up, but in college where everyone is expected to act like mature adults words can be taken very offensively and the outcome can be more serious. College is a place for students who want to grow educationally, not a place to be disturbed by those few people who bring interruptions and unnecessary drama.

Civility on campus should be an important subject advertised to ensure a pleasant environment for the students to grow successfully. Going from high school to college is a big deal for incoming students. College has grown a reputation of a place to get educated with more freedom. In high school students are used to following strict rules of no cell phones, attendance, and proper behavior. Although college is a place for adults and allows more freedom than high school, a code of conduct has been twisted.

Because students pay for college, they feel they have permission to handle the way they learn on their own terms. Leaving class for example is an idea brought to students that is “o. k” since what they learn or do not learn is on their own shoulders. However, students fail to realize that professors work hard to ensure their lectures and notes push their students in the right direction to succeed in their class. The whole point of a professors job is to educate their students so they can pass their class and move forward. Leaving during class is an unprincipled disturbance to the other students and professor.

The professor gives students their time to drive to the campus and try to help educate their students, and leaving in the middle is disrespecting their efforts. Some professors are lenient and allow students to get away with small misbehaviors such as eating in class, texting, talking, and more. Students take their quiet disregards as permission to continue, not realizing the disturbance and disrespect they are giving their professor. Most high schools have a strict no cell phone code, and students entering college believe that cell phones are okay to be freely handled even in class.

Even though some professors write in their syllabus “no cell phones”, students still feel that texting under their desk will be okay with the teacher. Although some professors may look the other way, students fail to realize that professors know when students are occupied with something unrelated to the lecture. By being occupied by something separate from the actual class discourages the professor’s effort on trying to help their students succeed. Students do not recognize that the disrespect towards professors does effect them.

Thomas Benton notes in his article “Remedial Civility Training” how he puts in effort to “make my classes interesting and relevant” only to have students disregard his class and only see it as an requirement. Civility should be enforced in the classroom to give that respect to professors and other students who are there to succeed in their education. Civility has become so flexible and twisted that the relationship between student and professor has transformed. Professors should be treated with respect, just as any educator feels they deserve to be treated as.

However, some students find themselves able to mistreat their professors to an extent. In Marilyn Gilroy’s journal article “Colleges Grappling with Incivility” she maintains how “Faculty members have reported numerous confrontations with students over grades” and mistreatment towards professors over grades can become threatening. Although Gilroy writes how a majority of faculty members do not experience threats over grades or a students performance, the fact that even a small percentage receive violent threats is disturbing.

A separation between professor and student should be established to prevent such incivility in that relationship. A professor should not receive such extreme blame for a students performance, even if the professor is rightful to be blamed. A discussion would be appropriate rather than a hasty act of threats and accusations. Professors should be allowed the right to preserve the respect in the student-educator relationship. The relationship between the professor and student should be used towards promoting civility in the classroom.

To prevent students feeling less involved and under complete authority of the professor, discussion and communication through the class room would produce civility. Mary Deane Sorcinelli’s article “Dealing with Troublesome Behavior In The Classroom” suggests seeking feedback from students, or allowing classroom policies to be open for discussion amongst students. Sorcinelli claims that by giving the student a voice in the rules, appreciation will be given to the policies set by the professor. Compromise can create a more civil relationship for the students and professor.

Incivility is amongst college campuses in multiple forms. Civility should be something strong and advertised on campus to ensure a comfortable learning environment is established. Students should not have to suffer through misdemeanor of other peers. Immaturity and bullying is something college students should not be dealing with when they put their time and money towards their education. Although incivility is for the most part under control on campuses, proper behavior in classrooms has been disregarded.

Professors are expressing a concern over students actions during their class time. Students find that because they are paying for college, they have more freedom. Although freedom is given, a certain conduct should be kept within the classroom. Paying attention, being prepared, and attendance should be something students can handle on their own. However, professors notice a lack of civility within their own classroom. Civility should be a policy in colleges to ensure that professors and peers receive respectful treatment.

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