Notify identified person
The identified person to notify will depend on your current role. For tutors, this will likely be the Course Coordinator. If you are in a professional role or an academic position, your direct line manager or Head of School will most likely be the person to notify.
Examples of disruptive behaviour include:
- Calling out in class
- Speaking over the tutor or other students
- Distracting or preventing other students from focusing on the lesson
Disruptive behaviour: General strategies
When necessary, remind students of the ground rules (e.g. not speaking over other students). Ask them to wait until it’s their turn to talk.
It sounds like you have a lot to discuss about this issue, but we do need to keep moving with the lesson right now.
It’s [student’s] turn to talk right now. I’m happy to chat about [topic] with you further at the end.
If disruptive behaviour persists, it may be necessary to ask student to leave the room. Immediately after class, address the disruptive behaviour with the student individually. Remind the student that the ground rules are there to make sure everyone is heard and gets a chance to learn.
If behaviour persists over multiple weeks, explain that you will need to refer the issue to the program coordinator, who will arrange a meeting to discuss with the student
Examples of a student displaying signs of anxiety include:
- Not turning up to group meetings
- Does not speak up or contribute to group meetings
- Difficulty making eye contact
- Appears socially isolated
Anxious behaviour: General strategies
For students adversely affected by anxiety, tutors may need to suggest a meeting with the Course Coordinator to discuss.
Hi, I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that you might be having a bit of a hard time with [the group situation]... How would you feel about talking to [coordinator] about it to see what we can do to help?
If student agrees, contact program coordinator to arrange a meeting.
Examples of aggressive behaviour include:
- Arguing loudly and persistently with the tutor
- Making loud or aggressive noises in effort to disrupt the class
- Threatening others physically or verbally
Aggressive behaviour: General strategies
If you feel concerned about your personal safety or at risk of harm at any time, immediately leave the vicinity. Keep distance or objects (e.g. furniture) between yourself and the student. Call campus security as soon as possible, and contact your manager or the Course Coordinator.
If there are no immediate concerns about personal safety, mediation strategies may be required. The goal here is to (a) first deescalate the situation, then (b) arrive at an agreed course of action. At all times, stay calm.
If the difficult behaviour occurs during class, remind the student of the ground rules. Explain they will need to discuss the issue further after class. If persistent, it may be necessary to leave the class.
When meeting with a student known to show signs of aggression, pick an appropriate venue (e.g. public place, high traffic areas). Allow the student time to express their concerns and frustrations. Reflecting back their concerns can help to deescalate a situation. In general terms, this might include the following steps:
- Keep a calm and even voice.
- Repeat back student's concerns so they know you are listening.
- Label the emotions you are seeing ("you sound quite frustrated about the fact that your timetable has been changed again...")
- If the student is still in a heightened state (angry and upset), suggest arranging a time to meet later that day (if possible). This will allow everyone time to calm down.
You sound pretty upset about this right now. I'd like to continue discussing with you, but I'd like to do it when we're all a bit calmer. How about we meet in the courtyard at 3pm?
Aim to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution if possible, otherwise explain that you have heard their concerns and will discuss with your superior and get back to them in the next day or two. Follow-up with program coordinator.
Note: If not comfortable meeting with student alone, contact the program coordinator for support.
Disorganised behaviour in students may be a result of other stressors or difficulties. Some things to look out for include:
- Students that frequently do not turn up to group meetings, tutorials, lectures, or exams, or fail to hand in assignments.
- Feedback from peers (especially group members) that a student is mostly absent or does not contribute to group projects or discussion
Disorganised behaviour: General strategies
It may be helpful to suggest to students that they talk to the Course Coordinator or Student Services for assistance with time management or organisation.
Hi [name], I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that you might be having a bit of a hard time keeping on top of your work... Have you thought about having a chat with someone from Student Services?
If concerned about the student's personal safety or mental health, refer on to the University's psychology clinic.