Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Here's a book I thought I'd pass along to our readers some of whom may be looking for advice on how to handle disruptive or difficult students. No matter how good or experienced a teacher you are, you will eventually encounter students who try to disrupt your class either by undermining you, monopolizing class discussion or otherwise acting out in ways that gives you fits and can ruin the class if you don't handle the situation correctly. How can I be so confident that you'll eventually encounter such students? Because you can take any random group of people, put them in high pressure situation (i.e. a law school classroom), and voila! The interpersonal sparks will fly. Indeed, every reality TV show ever produced depends on this self-evident truth.
The book is called Coping with Misconduct in the College Classroom: A Practical Model (College Administration Series 1999) by Dr. Gerald Amada, a psychologist who provides proven strategies for successfully handling most behavioral issues you are likely to encounter in the law school classroom. Along the way, Dr. Amada helps debunk some common misconceptions such as, to take an example, that disciplining students will lower your teaching evaluations (much more likely, students will hold you in higher esteem for enforcing the rules)
On a personal note, I found this book extremely helpful when I first began my teaching career.