“Dealing with Disruptive Student Behavior” posting by Rick Reis

Very interesting and useful!


The posting below, a bit longer than most, gives some useful tips on dealing with disruptive student behavior. It is from, Chapter 6 – Dealing with disruptive students, in the book, Making Teaching Work: ‘Teaching Smarter’ in Post-Compulsory Education by Phil Race and Ruth Pickford. SAGE Publications Ltd. 1 Oliver’s Yard. 55 City Road, London EC1Y 1SP. © Phil Race and Ruth Pickford 2007 [www.sagepub.com/‎] Reprinted with permission.



Rick Reis




Tomorrow’s Teaching and Learning

———- 2,944 words ———-

Dealing with Disruptive Student Behavior

Of course, even when you take steps to prevent disruptive behavior you can never guarantee a disruption-free class. Generally, it is as well to give any sort of disruptive student the minimum attention necessary because time focused on disruptive behavior is time that is not being spent on facilitating learning. Also, there is a danger of drawing other students into the situation who will then escalate the disruption. The golden rule of dealing with disruptive behavior is never to do anything that will make the situation worse. Below are suggestions for dealing with the most common types of disruptive behavior.


Dealing with noisy students


Students holding side conversations, using mobile phones or MP3 players can be quite off-putting for you and for other students. A direct approach of “Please don’t use your mobile phone” can often be the most effective. Consider starting the class with something like “Please switch all phones off, we’re about to start.” This not only sets the ground rules but also clearly indicates that the session has begun. It’s not a good idea to embarrass students who are talking or assume that their conversation isn’t related to what is being discussed in class. You may therefore wish to avoid direct confrontation, in which case the following are often successful.

* Stop talking in mid-sentence and look in a non-aggressive way at the student making the noise. Peer pressure may  quieten them.

* Try speaking more quietly. This causes the noisy students to become more obvious in contrast and other students may ask   them to quieten down.

* Make direct eye contact with the student/s so that they know you can see them.

* Direct a question to the area in which the noisy students are sitting. This focuses attention on that area of the class.

* Try physically moving to the part of the room where the students are and continue to lead the class whilst standing next to them.

* If you hear a student make an interesting comment you could respond to it, thereby encouraging comments from other students.

* Consider legitimizing the chatting by breaking the class into mini-discussion groups.

Dealing with inattentive students

Students who don’t pay attention are not necessarily disruptive and you should weigh up the benefits of interceding before acting. If you decide you would like to increase a student’s attentiveness it is a good idea to try to make eye contact with them. You may also find that students are suddenly more attentive if you ask them a question, if you explicitly relate the topic to assessment or keep them active.


Dealing with late arrivers

This is one of those matters which is high on most lecturer’s list of problems. How you handle late-comers will be one of the things that sets the whole tone of your classes. The following suggestions may help you to weigh up the pros and cons of a variety of tactics, and to choose what will work best for you.

Don’t forget that sometimes students have good reasons for being late. There may have been a transport problem. They may have just come from a previous lecture on a distant part of the campus – or another campus altogether. Their previous lecture may have over-run – this isn’t their fault. Avoid saying anything irretrievable. It could be that this was the first time ever that the late-comer had been late and/or it might have been unavoidable, but they still plucked up the courage to come in. Remember that the late-comer has at least got to you.


If you are too hard on late-comers, they may well decide simply not to come at all next time they’re late for your sessions. This may well cause you more problems, not least that regular late-comers who become regular absentees are much more likely to fail your course or module, and this reflects on you even when it’s not your fault. Recognize that at least some disruption is inevitable. It’s usually best not to simply carry on as though no one was making their late way into the class. At the very least some of the other students may well miss something you said, distracted by the late-comer’s entrance. Sometimes it’s best simply to pause till the late-comer is settled in. In any case, a few extra moments to gather your own thoughts can often be useful. When there are repeated disturbances through the arrival of successive late-comers, the majority of the students often have their own ways of showing their disapproval concerning the disruption, sparing you from having to do anything.


If students are habitually arriving late for your class and distracting students who arrive on time, then let students know that the first five minutes of each class will cover material relating directly to the assignment. You don’t then need to make special efforts to brief late-comers about what they may have missed – and indeed if those without good reasons for being late begin to realize that they are missing useful things, they will tend to try to be more punctual in future.


Dealing with early leavers

This same approach of including something relevant to assessment can be applied to the last five minutes of class to encourage students not to leave early. If students see the value in being there they are more likely to make the effort. If this doesn’t have any effect on persistent early leavers (or late attenders) then you need to tread carefully. You may wish to state clearly your expectations for attendance, but equally you may wish not to risk alienating the students. Whatever you do, don’t waste time at the beginning or end of the session discussing excuses as this is unfair to the rest of the class and is unproductive.


Dealing with domineering students

Some students can overpower the group and inhibit the contributions and learning of others. It’s your responsibility to manage the group, without alienating these students or disrupting learning. In a small group, make eye contact with the domineering student and then thank them for their contribution. Then try asking someone in another part of the room to speak. If the student persists in dominating the discussion summarize their point and ask others to speak, or indicate that you are ready to move on by starting to prepare for the next activity.


Dealing with rambling students

Some students can regularly wander around and off the subject. Clearly this can detract from the learning experience of other students. It is important to try to refocus the student’s attention by restating relevant points and asking the student to summarize their main point. Try directing questions to the group, perhaps using visual aids to bring the discussion back on track.


Dealing with distressed students

Whilst it is good to be empathetic, it is not appropriate for you to become a student’s counsellor. It is not your responsibility to offer therapy but to manage the situation to enable the rest of the class to get on with their learning. Refer students with emotional, psychological or financial trouble to the appropriate counsellors.


Dealing with challenges to your authority

Some students may make a habit of disagreeing with everything you say. You should consider recognizing their opinions, pulling out any valid points and restating them before moving on, perhaps drawing the rest of the group into the discussion. It is important not to be sidetracked or to enter into an argument. It may be best to arrange to discuss the issues with the student out of class time. Be willing to explain, but not necessarily to defend, your position.


Dealing with disruptive students online


Possibly because of the difficulty in interpreting emotions, disruptions to online classes can be challenging to manage. Disruption can be direct such as abusive emails, or less direct such as a student posting material which offends some others. Following are some methods for dealing with disruptive students online:

* Delete any inappropriate postings on the discussion board.

* Phone or email the disruptive student and objectively inform the student of the problem and how they were disruptive.

* Explain what the possible consequences will be if they continue to be disruptive.

* For a persistent offender consider blocking the student from posting in a forum or removing that student from the group.

* Save any postings for future reference.


Ineffective ways to deal with disruption

Most of us learn the hard way that there are some avenues which are NOT advisable when dealing with disruption in class.

  1. Reacting aggressively. Although you may find that in the short term shouting at students works, in the longer term students may lose respect for you if the only way you can maintain control of a class is by losing control of yourself. It is not a good idea to try to intimidate students as this may lead to a stand-off where students not wishing to lose face may challenge you further. At the very least you are likely to reduce their engagement.


  1. Ignoring the disruption. It is inadvisable to ignore or give in to unacceptable behavior as you may find that the disruption increases and you risk losing control of the class. It’s also not generally a good idea to resort to sarcasm or embarrassing students, as you may harm your credibility and lose respect.


  1. Punishing the non-disruptive students. If you refuse to carry on until a couple of chattering students quieten down then this penalizes the non-disruptive students. Equally, locking the door five minutes into class time stops the chronic late comers but also penalizes the student who may have an unavoidable reason for being late.


A far better way to deal with disruption is to focus on maintaining control without resorting to aggression or sarcasm.


Don’t let a crisis turn into a drama!

This is the golden rule in dealing with disruptive students, particularly in large-group contexts like lectures. This is perhaps best illustrated by a case study.

One Thursday, Dr. Smith was lecturing to a large class in a research-led university. He was teaching a rather difficult (and not particularly interesting) mathematical area of an engineering topic, and his students were getting fed up, both with Dr. Smith and the subject.   Dr. Smith himself was rather more interested in his research than his teaching at the time of the incident and was somewhat stretched by also getting a funding bid in on time, so his patience was not at its optimum.

When he turned to the board to write a rather cumbersome equation for the students to copy down, a student whistled. He turned round but could not see who had whistled. When he returned writing the equation, the whistle was heard again. He again turned round, but still could not distinguish the culprit. He turned round quickly enough at the next occurrence of the whistle, and caught the student who had whistled. He was quite cross at this point, and asked the student to leave the lecture. The student refused.

As you may imagine, this crisis had turned into a drama. There was no going back. In fact, Dr. Smith had to be taken off the course concerned, as uppermost in the minds of that set of students would be the incident from that Thursday. The pivotal point was Dr. Smith asking the student to leave – and the student refusing. This was an irreversible step. In an instant, even many of the students who actually found the whistling juvenile and irritating tended to side with the offender. If the student had left, the incident may have receded away from the consciousness of the student group over time, but the student still remained. Short of getting the university’s security staff to take the student away there was no turning back, and that in itself would have constituted an irreversible step.

It is not surprising that something rather dramatic, such as the incident above, is likely to be considerably more memorable to the students than the rather dry and boring topic that was being covered in the lecture. The fact that the result was for Dr. Smith to be taken off the course was naturally taken as a victory by the students, even though most of them had little time for the offending student’s behavior that day. Perhaps the most important learning point from this story is that it only takes a second or two to get into an irreversible drama with a large group of students.


A ten step approach for dealing with disruptive students

  1. Don’t take the disruption personally

Focus on the distraction rather than on the student and don’t take disruption personally. Students are often unaware that they are being disruptive. Your attitude will come across to your students so it is important that you remain positive and give students the benefit of the doubt. By remaining objective and not taking the situation personally, you can respond in a calm manner.


  1. Stay calm

It is a good idea to take control of the situation before you become impatient, upset or irritated. You will be much more authoritative when you are perceived to be dealing with the distraction in a composed manner and when students believe that you like them. Don’t become angry or sarcastic as this will make the situation worse. Save your energies for your teaching.


  1. Decide when you will deal with the situation

It is very important that you allow students to save face where possible. The class will not always respond well if you put students down in front of others. If the nature of the disruption requires you to have a lengthy discussion with the student, then arrange to meet after class. However, it is best to address most disruptive behaviors quickly and immediately as they arise.


  1. Be polite

Don’t get into an argument. It is far better to say “I’d like to continue with the class” or “It is important that you concentrate for the next few minutes” than “Don’t talk when I’m talking.”


  1. Listen to the student

Really listen to what a disruptive student is saying. Where it is practicable let them finish and don’t interrupt them. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand what is lying behind the disruption.


  1. Check you understand

Ask questions until you have enough information to understand the situation.


  1. Decide what you’re going to do

Think win-win but always prioritize the learning experience of the non-disruptive students.


  1. Explain your decision to the student

Tell the students what you have decided, explain your rationale and check they understand.


  1. Follow through – You must do what you said you would do!

Don’t threaten actions you are not prepared to carry out or that you are not able to ensure are carried out. Only in the most drastic of situations should you ask a student to leave the class – what will you do if a student refuses to leave? Only as a very last resort should you leave the class yourself. Don’t threaten to do these things unless you are prepared to follow through on them.


  1. Document your decisions

Where the disruption has resulted in significant action it is a good idea to document the nature of the disruption, your actions and the rationale for your decision. This will help you to reflect and evaluate.



No two classes are alike. Each class has its own personality and how you deal with disruptive behavior may differ between classes. It’s really helpful if you know all of your students’ names because students are less likely to be disruptive if they know that you know them. Where you have tried unsuccessfully to resolve an issue in class it is usually best not to escalate the issue but to attempt to resolve it at a later time outside the classroom. If you are available to students outside class time and if you invite students to contact you with concerns and questions, both these actions can prevent many problems arising in class time.

Deal with each distraction objectively. If you’re the only one who’s being irritated by a particular behavior, such as a student falling asleep, then that behavior is only disruptive if you let it be. If you do anything in class to address a non-disruptive behavior, you transform it into a disruption. You could therefore choose to ignore the behavior. If the behavior seriously annoys you, you could approach the student outside class and ask why they are doing it.


All the guidance in this chapter has been directed at dealing with non-threatening disruptive behavior. However, should an incident occur in your class that causes you to fear for your safety or that of your students:

* Stay calm.

* Do not turn your back on the student.

* Do not touch the student.

* Call security.

Although incidents of this type are rare you never know when they might occur, so it is a good idea to always carry a mobile phone and to ensure that you know how to contact security.

Whilst it is useful to consider how you might deal with disruptions when they arise it is important not to worry overly about maintaining control. Interaction in a session is actually quite a good thing and the unpredictability of each class can enrich the students’ and your experience. Although this chapter offers a range of suggestions for how to cope with different types of disruption, often the best course of action is the simplest; to ask the disruptive students to stop what they’re doing. Finally, remember that most students are polite and helpful and want to learn!

Hispana supera los 5 millones de recursos digitales

Originalmente publicado en Investigación científica en abierto:

Hispana, el agregador de recursos digitales de la Subdirección General de Coordinación Bibliotecaria ha alcanzado los 5 millones de objetos digitales, que proceden de 207 repositorios. El proyecto se puso en producción a principios de 2005 con 25 repositorios y cerca de 120.000 objetos digitales.

En cuanto a la tipología de los repositorios que recolecta hay que señalar, en primer lugar, por su número los repositorios institucionales de las universidades. El segundo grupo, que aporta el mayor volumen de registros,  es el de las bibliotecas digitales de las CCAA, del propio Ministerio y de las más importantes instituciones de memoria como Reales Academias, ateneos, fundaciones, etc. Entre los recursos patrimoniales que incluye Hispana se encuentran también los de la Biblioteca Nacional de España, tanto los fondos de la Biblioteca Digital Hispánica como de la Hemeroteca Digital. El tercer grupo lo constituyen 39 museos que forman parte de CERes, la…

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Otoño. José Hierro

Originalmente publicado en Leyendo se entiende la gente:



Demos paso al otoño con el poema Otoño eufórico de José Hierro

Hemos visto, ¡alegría!, dar el viento

gloria final a las hojas doradas.

Arder, fundirse el monte en llamaradas

crepusculares, trágico y sangriento.

Gira, asciende, enloquece, pensamiento.

Hoy da el otoño suelta a sus manadas.

¿No sientes a lo lejos sus pisadas?

Pasan, dejando el campo amarillento.

Por esto, por sentirnos todavía

música y viento y hojas, ¡alegría!

Por el dolor que nos tiene cautivos,

por la sangre que mana de la herida

¡alegría en el nombre de la vida!

Somos alegres porque estamos vivos.

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¿Jobs no permitía que sus hijos usaran el iPad?

Así es. Se cuenta en este artículo del NYT que se comenta, a su vez, en este:

De acuerdo con el periódico, en una de sus entrevistas Jobs afirmó que sus hijos no utilizaban una de sus creaciones más populares, el iPad. “En casa limitamos la cantidad de tecnología que usan nuestros hijos”, señaló el fundador del gigante de la informática.

El artículo señala que el significativo número de directores ejecutivos de empresas tecnológicas que, igual que Jobs, viven según unas normas completamente contrarias a las que prescriben para la población estadounidense sugiere que la elite multimillonaria parece saber algo que el resto de la sociedad desconoce.

Así, el director ejecutivo de la empresa 3D Robotics y fabricante de aviones no tripulados, Chris Anderson, quien también controla totalmente el acceso de sus hijos a cualquier ‘gadget’, explica que educa de esta forma a sus hijos después de haber experimentado “de primera mano los peligros de la tecnología”. “Lo he visto en mi persona, no quiero que a mis hijos les pase lo mismo”, confesó el informático.

Los peligros a los que se refiere Anderson son el acceso que ofrecen los teléfonos inteligentes, tabletas y computadoras a contenidos nocivos como pornografía, el acoso por parte de otros niños y lo que consideran lo peor de todo, la adicción al dispositivo.

El fundador de Twitter, Blogger y Medium, Evan Williams, y su esposa, Sara Williams, por ejemplo, aseguran que en lugar de iPads sus dos hijos pequeños tienen cientos de libros que pueden leer en cualquier momento.

Según han aprobado varios estudios médicos, los monitores de los dispositivos electrónicos también pueden inducir a un aumento de los trastornos oculares, así como falta de sueño entre los niños dependientes de los dispositivos. Por su parte, los investigadores opinan que las frecuencias del Internet inalámbrico que utilizan muchos dispositivos como el iPad y otras tabletas pueden suponer riesgos potenciales para la salud e incluso provocar cáncer.

Texto completo en: http://actualidad.rt.com/sociedad/view/140431-steve-jobs-hijos-ipad

Ten Rules for Good Studying or for Bad Studying…


Very useful! (by Barbara Oakley) Via Rick Reis.

Ten Rules for Good Studying

1. Use recall. After you read a page, look away and recall the main ideas. Highlight very little, and never highlight anything you haven’t put in your mind first by recalling. Try recalling main ideas when you are walking to class or in a different room from where you originally learned it. An ability to recall-to generate the ideas from inside yourself-is one of the key indicators of good learning.

2. Test yourself. On everything. All the time. Flash cards are your friend.

3. Chunk your problems. Chunking is understanding and practicing with a problem solution so that it can all come to mind in a flash. After you solve a problem, rehearse it. Make sure you can solve it cold-every step. Pretend it’s a song and learn to play it over and over again in your mind, so the information combines into one smooth chunk you can pull up whenever you want.

4. Space your repetition. Spread out your learning in any subject a little every day, just like an athlete. Your brain is like a muscle-it can handle only a limited amount of exercise on one subject at a time.

5. Alternate different problem-solving techniques during your practice. Never practice too long at any one session using only one problem-solving technique-after a while, you are just mimicking what you did on the previous problem. Mix it up and work on different types of problems. This teaches you both how and when to use a technique. (Books generally are not set up this way, so you’ll need to do this on your own.) After every assignment and test, go over your errors, make sure you understand why you made them, and then rework your solutions. To study most effectively, handwrite (don’t type) a problem on one side of a flash card and the solution on the other. (Handwriting builds stronger neural structures in memory than typing.) You might also photograph the card if you want to load it into a study app on your smartphone. Quiz yourself randomly on different types of problems. Another way to do this is to randomly flip through your book, pick out a problem, and see whether you can solve it cold.

6. Take breaks. It is common to be unable to solve problems or figure out concepts in math or science the first time you encounter them. This is why a little study every day is much better than a lot of studying all at once. When you get frustrated with a math or science problem, take a break so that another part of your mind can take over and work in the background.

7. Use explanatory questioning and simple analogies. Whenever you are struggling with a concept, think to yourself, How can I explain this so that a ten-year-old could understand it? Using an analogy really helps, like saying that the flow of electricity is like the flow of water. Don’t just think your explanation-say it out loud or put it in writing. The additional effort of speaking and writing allows you to more deeply encode (that is, convert into neural memory structures) what you are learning.

8. Focus. Turn off all interrupting beeps and alarms on your phone and computer, and then turn on a timer for twenty-five minutes. Focus intently for those twenty-five minutes and try to work as diligently as you can. After the timer goes off, give yourself a small, fun reward. A few of these sessions in a day can really move your studies forward. Try to set up times and places where studying-not glancing at your computer or phone-is just something you naturally do.

9. Eat your frogs first. Do the hardest thing earliest in the day, when you are fresh.

10. Make a mental contrast. Imagine where you’ve come from and contrast that with the dream of where your studies will take you. Post a picture or words in your workspace to remind you of your dream. Look at that when you find your motivation lagging. This work will pay off both for you and those you love!

Ten Rules of Bad Studying

Avoid these techniques-they can waste your time even while they fool you into thinking you’re learning!

1. Passive rereading-sitting passively and running your eyes back over a page. Unless you can prove that the material is moving into your brain by recalling the main ideas without looking at the page, rereading is a waste of time.

2. Letting highlights overwhelm you. Highlighting your text can fool your mind into thinking you are putting something in your brain, when all you’re really doing is moving your hand. A little highlighting here and there is okay-sometimes it can be helpful in flagging important points. But if you are using highlighting as a memory tool, make sure that what you mark is also going into your brain.

3. Merely glancing at a problem’s solution and thinking you know how to do it. This is one of the worst errors students make while studying. You need to be able to solve a problem step-by-step, without looking at the solution.

4. Waiting until the last minute to study. Would you cram at the last minute if you were practicing for a track meet? Your brain is like a muscle-it can handle only a limited amount of exercise on one subject at a time.

5. Repeatedly solving problems of the same type that you already know how to solve. If you just sit around solving similar problems during your practice, you’re not actually preparing for a test-it’s like preparing for a big basketball game by just practicing your dribbling.

6. Letting study sessions with friends turn into chat sessions. Checking your problem solving with friends, and quizzing one another on what you know, can make learning more enjoyable, expose flaws in your thinking, and deepen your learning. But if your joint study sessions turn to fun before the work is done, you’re wasting your time and should find another study group.

7. Neglecting to read the textbook before you start working problems. Would you dive into a pool before you knew how to swim? The textbook is your swimming instructor-it guides you toward the answers. You will flounder and waste your time if you don’t bother to read it. Before you begin to read, however, take a quick glance over the chapter or section to get a sense of what it’s about.

8. Not checking with your instructors or classmates to clear up points of confusion. Professors are used to lost students coming in for guidance-it’s our job to help you. The students we worry about are the ones who don’t come in. Don’t be one of those students.

9. Thinking you can learn deeply when you are being constantly distracted. Every tiny pull toward an instant message or conversation means you have less brain power to devote to learning. Every tug of interrupted attention pulls out tiny neural roots before they can grow.

10. Not getting enough sleep. Your brain pieces together problem-solving techniques when you sleep, and it also practices and repeats whatever you put in mind before you go to sleep. Prolonged fatigue allows toxins to build up in the brain that disrupt the neural connections you need to think quickly and well. If you don’t get a good sleep before a test, NOTHING ELSE YOU HAVE DONE WILL MATTER.

Barbara Oakley, PhD, PE, from her new book, A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra), Tarcher/Penguin. [http://www.tarcherbooks.net/about-tarcherpenguin/] © copyright 2014.  All rights reserved.


Humanidades digitales: ¿un futuro por descubrir?

Originalmente publicado en Investigación científica en abierto:

Se ha publicado el articulo en acceso abierto “Ciberinfraestructura para las Humanidades Digitales: una oportunidad de desarrollo tecnológico para la biblioteca académica”, escrito por Luis Rodríguez-Yunta. Las Humanidades Digitales utilizan las nuevas tecnologías de la información para el desarrollo de la investigación en Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales. Actualmente, ya existe en España la asociación de Humanidades Digitales Hispánicas, creada en 2011, pero según este autor “El aspecto más débil de la consolidación de las humanidades digitales en España es la escasa existencia de centros específicos de apoyo tecnológico”. Se aboga por la participación de la biblioteca en las Humanidades Digitales para proveer de un apoyo tecnológico y técnico a los investigadores.

Precisamente en 2013 se celebró en la Universidad de Navarra, como se indica en este artículo un evento científico sobre este tema, organizado por el grupo de investigación Griso (Grupo de investigación Siglo de Oro): Humanidades digitales :…

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9 buscadores de información para estudiantes e investigadores

Originalmente publicado en Investigación científica en abierto:

Aunque Google sigue siendo el mejor buscador para cualquier tipo de búsqueda, la realidad es que en ocasiones es mejor conseguir motores de búsqueda específicos y basados en temas para conseguir resultados más adecuados.

Gustavo Martínez ha reunido nueve buscadores que pueden ser de utilidad:

  1. Academia.edu: Comunidad de investigadores académicos, en la que se registran y comparten con otros colegas sus intereses de investigación.
  2. Google Académico
  3. JURN: Busca entre millones artículos académicos gratuitos, capítulos de libros y tesis especialmente de Arte y  Humanidades, aunque también de Económicas, Ecología, Ciencias, y Biomedicina. También es un directorio de 3.000 revistas de artes y humanidades gratuitas.
  4. RefSeek: Es una herramienta de búsqueda de información académica en Internet.
  5. HighBeam: Servicio de información de alta calidad. Permite hacer una prueba gratuita de 7 días, pero para acceder a todo el contenido hace falta una suscripción.
  6. Springer: Plataforma de alta calidad…

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