Maintaining Proper Classroom EtiquetteChen Wan Lim
As a student, maintaining proper classroom behaviour is important as a classroom is a common area where both the teacher and the student congregate to provide and to receive an education. It is therefore imperative that proper acceptable conducts are practiced to display respect and gratitude to both teachers and peers alike. What is etiquette? Etiquette is broadly defined as a code of conduct or a method for dealing with how people interact with each other – it is based on respect and accepted norms of behaviour. These are eight ways to maintain proper classroom etiquette and to create a conducive space where everyone can learn comfortably:
The first thing a student must do is to arrive to class on time. Arriving on time not only shows a student’s discipline but it displays an eagerness to learn and respect he/she has towards the coordinator of the classroom session. On a practical side, arriving on time allows the lesson to be conducted according to the allotted time with sufficient time for discussions and classroom activities.
In the age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it is not uncommon and even expected for mobile phones to beep occasionally during class. Even the sight of students browsing through photos is becoming a common sight. Proper classroom etiquette dictates that mobile phones should be set to silent and only be answered when required outside the classroom – never answer a call in the classroom. Also, refrain from fiddling with your mobile phone when the lecture is going on.
Food and snacks
While it is habitual for some to snack while studying or listening to a lecture, proper classroom etiquette might suggest against it. The sound of a neighbour munching on something crispy is very distracting especially when you’re trying to focus on a complicated explanation that’s going on in class. Next, the whiff of seafood crackers can be nauseating for some – this is not something pleasant to do to your course mates. Perhaps if you must, something small and quiet like sweets, but do be extra quiet with the plastic wrappers.
Every lecturer has his/her style in delivering the lesson for the day. Whilst some might prefer a more engaging two-way session requiring constant participation from the class, some would rather take questions at the end of the class only. As such, depending on the type of lecture method, students might want to evaluate the lecture style and to behave accordingly. Asking questions midway could derail the lecturer’s train of thought or it might cause your peer to lose focus. In addition, when it comes to the question and answer session, refrain from dominating the entire session by asking too many questions. Keep the questions short and allow others to participate.
Staying the entire way through
If possible, avoid leaving the class early unless in an emergency situation. Also, if possible, avoid walking in and out for toilet or smoking breaks as this will distract the lecturer and your course mates. However, if you do need to frequent the restroom due to a personal situation, then try sitting at the edge of the class near the door to avoid distracting others.
Be respectful when communicating in class
Often, we might not fully agree with what the lecturer is speaking on, especially when it involves politics, governance or moral issues. However, we need to be mindful that the classroom is not the place to freely display objections and to openly challenge the instructor. Practice moderation and be tactful of the fact that there are others in the classroom as well. Any disagreements with the lecturer should be dealt with in private.
Be attentive in class
It is quite understandable, especially for postgraduate students attending night classes after a long day at work to be tired and to lack focus in class. However, refrain from displaying your boredom in a class by staring out of the window, fiddling with your mobile phone or reading non-study related materials. Such behaviour is disrespectful and very rude to both the lecturer and your course mates.
Practise proper salutations
Your course instructor has put in much effort in attaining his/her higher degree and professional qualifications to be able to conduct a lecture. As such, practise proper salutation by addressing them by their titles such as ‘Doctor’ as opposed to using ‘Mr’, ‘Ms’ or even simply calling them by their first name. Only address the lecturer by their first name if they have requested everyone to do so.