Disruptive Behaviors in the Classroom: The Students' Perspective

Welcome to “Disruptive Behaviors in the Classroom: Part II.”  I figured that since last week I asked faculty to list their “Five Most Disruptive Student Behaviors in the Classroom,” I should ask students the same question.  I have to admit that I thought the lists would be duplicates of one another.  As usual, I was wrong.  Of the eighteen behaviors listed below provided by approximately 30 upper division marketing students, ten behaviors (highlighted in red) were unique to the students’ perspective.  What can we learn from this information?  First, a lot of the same  behaviors that irritate faculty members also bother students…especially the dominant issues such as side discussions, cell phone use, and inappropriate laptop use.  Consequently, you’ll be doing everyone a favor if you can effectively manage these types of  behaviors.  Second, the student’s have their own set of issues and faculty should be fully aware of these issues as well.  Both lists are provided below for those that want to make further comparisons.


Disruptive Behaviors:  Student Perspective
(listed in order of frequency of mentions)


  1. Side discussions (20)
  2. Cell phone issues (including text messaging) (20)
  3. Group project issues (14)
  4. Over-the-top Participators…older students in particular (11)
  5. Inappropriate laptop use (11)
  6. Food Issues: both noise and odors (9)
  7. Unprepared for class (7)
  8. Arriving late/leaving early (5)
  9. Distracting professor with off topic questions (4)
  10. Body odor (3)
  11. Newspapers/Suduko (3)
  12. Sick classmates who show up for class (2)
  13. Sleeping (2)
  14. Tapping/clicking pens (2)
  15. Untimely bathroom breaks (1)
  16. Bouncing knee that shakes table (1)
  17. Tall people that block my view (1)
  18. The opposite sex (1)


Disruptive Behaviors:  Faculty Perspective


  1. Side discussions (13)
  2. Arriving late/leaving early (11)
  3. Inappropriate laptop use (10)
  4. Cell phone issues (including text messaging) (10)
  5. Newspapers/Sudoko (6)
  6. Sleeping in class (4)
  7. Failure to prepare for class (2)
  8. Yawning loudly (1)
  9. Trashed classrooms (1)
  10. Smells (1)
  11. Dishonesty (1)
  12. Packing up early (1)
  13. Debating grades in class (1)
  14. Untimely bathroom breaks (1)
  15. Using class time to ask personal questions (e.g., make-up exam) (1)
  16. Getting a large class to quiet down before starting (1)
  17. Dirty looks (1)
  18. Inappropriate emails to students & faculty (1)
  19. Not showing up for class  (1)
  20. Inappropriate language (1)
  21. Male students (most often, majors from another college) whose behavior (in class or in office hours) is unprofessional and/or condescending (e.g., gender issues, “business-people-aren’t-as  bright-as-our-major-people” attitudes, arguing about how business classes are run so differently from their other classes) (1)
  22. Showing up for class …it is very disruptive when they show up. J (I…thank you, Ernie!!)


Stay tuned for next week's teaching tip: 50* Ways to Disrupt your Students!

Category Disruptive Behavior
Keywords Student; Student perspective; teaching; Behavior; Disruptive
Colorado State University | College of Business | 1201 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523