General Code of Conduct
Courtesy, Respect, and Inclusiveness
In a First Year Foundations course, students are expected to talk during class. This might seem like a strange idea, but I assure you: it is an absolutely great learning opportunity and you should run with it.
As the professor, I work to ensure that everyone gets to make valuable contributions to the intellectual life of our seminar class -- regardless of their communication style or their academic background.
A few basic ground rules help to ensure courtesy, respect, and inclusiveness.
- Only one person may speak at a time. This is for (a) general politeness and (b) making class discussions easier to follow for people with hearing impairments.
- No student may disrespect, mock, or ridicule any other student in the classroom, especially when that person is speaking.
- Extroverts are welcome in my classroom. If you are an extrovert, sometimes you will need to hold back on asking a question or offering a comment because it is someone else's turn to speak or because you have used up your fair share of airtime already.
- Introverts are welcome in my classroom. If you are an introvert, sometimes you will need to push yourself a wee bit outside your comfort zone to make sure your voice gets heard. This gets a lot easier with gradual practice. (Ask me how: I am an introvert!)
- There is no such thing as a
stupid question in my classroom. Your professor will never disrespect/mock/ridicule you for giving a
wrong answer. I want you to feel safe enough in my classroom to take intellectual risks, make mistakes, and learn from them without
I enforce my classroom code of conduct fairly and even-handedly. The vast majority of the time I do not have to do anything at all. But when a disruption does occur, I deal with it quickly and appropriately and I do my best to save face for all parties. If a student has a concern about my fairness, I listen, and respond appropriately.
The above Code of Conduct for classroom discussions is extended by one further rule during student Oral Presentations:-
- Noone may interrupt a student presenter while they are presenting. No hands up. No questions. No noisy candy wrappers. No food smells. No cellphone rings. Just silence and a level playing field for everybody. Not even the professor gets to interrupt or question the student presenter during their presentation timeslot. In other words, once the presenter has the floor, they and only they have the right to speak. The sole exception to this final rule is that the audience may smile and laugh appropriately at the presenter's jokes. 😄