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Student Guide to Healthy Learning

& Positive Classroom Environment

The goal of Ridgewater College is to provide students with the knowledge, skill and wisdom they need to contribute to society in constructive ways. Policies, procedures, and regulations are formulated to guarantee each student's freedom to learn and to protect the fundamental rights of others. People must treat each other with dignity and respect in order for scholarship to thrive.

In an academic community, students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Students are expected to adhere to behavioral standards that support and foster a learning environment.

Faculty have the professional responsibility to treat students with understanding, dignity and respect, to guide classroom discussion and to set reasonable limits on the manner in which students express opinions.

Disruptive behavior is defined as repeated, continuous, or multiple student behaviors that prevent an instructor from teaching and/or students from learning. Examples of disruptive behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • In extreme cases, physical threats, harassing behavior or personal insults, or refusal to comply with faculty direction
  • Interrupting other speakers or persistently speaking without being recognized
  • Behavior that distracts the class from the subject matter or discussion
  • Behavior that a reasonable faculty member would view as interfering with normal academic functions

Some behaviors that disrupt teaching may be caused by emotional or psychological issues the student is experiencing. If students have a documented psychiatric disability, they must be registered with the Director of Disability Services in order to expect reasonable accommodations.

However, even students with documented disabilities are held to the same reasonable standards of conduct as any other student.

Hazing, harassing, or threatening actions which intentionally subject another person to offensive physical contact, physical injury, or property damage, or which specifically insult another person in his or her immediate presence with words or gestures are prohibited.

These actions, when based on race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation are among the forms of prohibited behavior.

Students engaging in this behavior should be reported to the Office of Student Conduct that will collaborate with the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity on resolving those concerns.

In most classroom settings, the large majority of students are very respectful of others and never cause problems in class that detract from the overall learning experience.

Nonetheless, some problems have increased over the years, and this may be due in part to changes in the culture.

For those few students who engage in behavior that disturbs others, it is important to remember that when one enters a higher-education classroom you are no longer in high school, you are not in a theater, you are not in a video arcade, you are not at a sporting event or concert.

You are in a college classroom, and the expectations of you are very specific. It is important for students to develop an understanding in several important areas right at the beginning of this class.

Everyone benefits from a favorable teaching/learning environment. Distracting behavior works against the establishment of such an environment. This reminder is to draw attention to some common behaviors that interfere with the rights of others to an optimal learning experience. The key to thoughtful behavior is awareness, and this statement is intended to encourage developing the habit of automatically thinking of the impact of classroom behavior on others and to help us be considerate to fellow students and to professors and instructors.

It is hoped that everyone will be thoughtful of others in the common teaching/learning endeavor. To do so we sometimes must temper spontaneity and individual expression with restraint. Most importantly, we must cultivate consciousness of the impact on others even of what might appear to be innocent or trivial behavior.

Instructors will advise you regarding the expectations for the class in areas such as:

  • Class Attendance
  • Entering and Exiting the Classroom
  • Noise
  • Avoiding Rudeness - Activities such as sleeping, reading, and listening to a Walkman, IPODS, etc. should be avoided.
  • Other Matters - Make sure cell phones are turned off before entering class or leave them outside. The same applies to wristwatch alarms and beepers.

If you have questions, please ask your instructor.