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Faculty share tips for classroom behavior

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Photo by: Sam King | Staff Photographer
A student uses his phone Feb. 18 during class.

Whether or not it is expressly written in the syllabus, classroom etiquette is something all students should be aware of.

Being respectful of others in the classroom is an important part of the learning experience at Texas State. However, not everyone seems to be aware of how their behavior affects others.

Jay Key, exploratory freshman, said students are ignorant to the fact that their actions are rude and distracting to others.

“I think it is disrespectful to the professor when students talk in class or use their phones,” Key said. “It’s also really distracting for me when I’m trying to pay attention.”

The problem tends to be less of what the action is and more of how the action is done. Getting up, leaving during lecture, being on a device and talking were prominent on students’ and professors’ lists of disrespectful actions in the classroom. It was not just the action alone, but mostly about how they did it.

“I also don’t like when people keep getting up in class,” Key said.

The problem was not leaving in the middle of class—it was the lack of acknowledgement to both his peers and professors.

Rebecca Bell-Metereau, English professor, thinks an underlying issue might be the generational gap between students and professor.

“I think they sort of need to develop an awareness of how their teacher is, because different generations are going to respond different ways,” Bell-Metereau said. “If a teacher looks at you, kind of like a double take, maybe you’re doing something wrong and should adjust that behavior.”

Professors hold college students to a higher standard. College students are treated like respected adults and are trusted to use electronic devices appropriately in the classroom. In return, professors expect students to treat them with equal, if not, greater respect.

You’re an adult—now think like one. At a work meeting, you’re expected to stay off the phone while your boss is talking. Listening to a lecture in class is no different.

Keith Needham, English senior lecturer, knows students are not intentionally disrespecting or undermining anyone when on devices in class.

“It shows that you’re not engaged with the instructor and that’s not a message that a student, I think, would want to communicate to the teacher,” Needham said.

Needham said these actions can be distracting to others.

“If the students are supposed to be in the class learning and students are distracting them, then the students that are supposed to be learning have a compromised goal as well,” Needham said.

If you need to leave early or take a phone call, ask ahead of time and sit near the exit.

It is tough to not check your device all the time, but no one said being an adult would be easy. Success in the classroom and the real world starts with a mutual respect between you and everyone you work with.