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Pages in this section:What is Incivility?Why incivility matters at VCUImpact of IncivilityActionable recommendations
Actionable recommendations: Promoting and maintaining civility in your classroom
What to do?
- Be aware of the diverse identities, seen and unseen, that exist in every classroom.
- Set classroom expectations for civil discourse from the start of the semester. Share these tips with students!
- Explicitly notice when a student may feel disrespected. “I notice there may be some tension, let's discuss further as a class…” Take the focus off of individuals.
- Avoid shaming any student by respecting the feelings of all.
- Use your power as the leader of the classroom to model passion and respect can exist at the same time.
- Anticipate disagreement! Encourage students to listen, hear each other’s perspectives – particularly where they differ - and work to understand the experiences that generate these perspectives.
- Consider being particularly supportive of students with whom you personally disagree, both to ensure that your own biases don’t prevail and to help them feel included in a context where they might otherwise feel uncomfortable.
- Remember that your role is to get students talking and thinking – you need not know all the perfect responses.
- Talk broadly about intent versus impact. We may not intend to offend – but the impact is still there. Want more specific ideas for navigating incivility and promoting a trusting learning environment in your class? Reach out to University Counseling Services and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs for a one on one consultation!