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Actionable recommendations

Counseling / Faculty Information / Navigating difficult dialogues in the classroom / Actionable recommendations
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What is Incivility?Why incivility matters at VCUImpact of IncivilityActionable recommendations
Actionable recommendations: Promoting and maintaining civility in your classroom 


What to do?

  1. Be aware of the diverse identities, seen and unseen, that exist in every classroom.
  2. Set classroom expectations for civil discourse from the start of the semester. Share these tips with students!
  3. 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.
  4. Avoid shaming any student by respecting the feelings of all.
  5. Use your power as the leader of the classroom to model passion and respect can exist at the same time.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Remember that your role is to get students talking and thinking – you need not know all the perfect responses.
  9. 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!

Virginia Commonwealth University
Division of Student Affairs
907 Floyd Ave, Suite 238
Richmond, VA 23284
Phone: (804) 828-6200
Email: uccounseling@vcu.edu

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