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Civility in the Classroom
An Annotated Link List

Copyright © 2004–2024 by Stan Brown,

Advice: Start with Bauer’s article.

Adams, M. S. (2004). Welcome to Civility 101. Retrieved 19 Nov 2021 from

This mock letter announces to students that anyone who is late or whose cell phone rings during class will be ejected and must write a 2500-word essay on civility to gain readmission. How many of us have days when that policy doesn’t sound half bad?

Baldwin, R. G. (1999, March). Academic Civility Begins in the Classroom. TIP-IT Online Newsletter, 16(2). Retrieved 19 Mar 2004 from; no longer there but available through the Internet Wayback Machine at (accessed 2018-04-19)

Baldwin ascribes rising incivility to increased differences between students and faculty and among students themselves, and offers some strategies to promote the “core academic value” of civility.

Thanks to Rick Grossman for finding this one.

Bauer, H. H. The New Generations: Students Who Don’t Study. (1997). Retrieved 17 Nov 2021 from

In this long, highly readable, and depressing article, Bauer argues that the same consumerist student attitudes that manifest in poor performance, failure to study, etc., also show up in general rudeness in and out of the classroom. Some (not all) of this comes from grade inflation and from student evaluations of faculty, when accepted uncritically by administrators as truth. Numerous quotes from students and faculty illustrate and anchor the argument.

Berger, B. A. Incivility. (2000). Retrieved 17 Nov 2021 from

Berger leads with examples of incivility by students and by faculty, and makes a good case for how faculty can set the tone to foster civility by students. I especially liked his treatment of the consumerist model, the mistaken belief that leads students to say things like “I’m paying for this course and therefore you owe me. …”

Chalk, J. (2001). Chalk Talk with Jonas Chalk: Chalk on Civility in the Classroom. Retrieved 19 Mar 2004 from Northeastern University, GE Master Teachers for Freshman Engineering Web site:; no longer there but available at (accessed 2017-01-09)

Chalk offers suggestions for dealing with specific behaviors, and which ones should probably be ignored.

Smolarski, D. C. (1999). Classroom Etiquette and Courtesy. From the Santa Clara University, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science Web site: (accessed 2021-11-19)

You may or may not agree with all of Smolarski’s requirements, but he does an excellent job of explaining the rationale for each one.

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. (n.d.). The Learning Environment at ESF. Retrieved 19 Mar 2004 from; still available through the Internet Wayback Machine at (PDF) (accessed 2017-01-09)

Students are asked to sign this one-page pledge to “ensur[e] a productive and conducive learning environment”, which lists some general principles and specific behavioral guidelines.

Warma, S. J. (1998). Classroom Demeanor: an Excerpt from One Syllabus. Retrieved 19 Nov 2021 from

Four no-nonsense paragraphs, almost in words of one syllable, deal with the most common problems of classroom etiquette. “Everyone who registers for this class is an adult. You are legally able to marry without parental consent, buy a home, pay taxes, vote, … etc. You should also be adult enough not to disturb others.”

Wibowo, K. (2003). Classroom Civility. Retrieved 19 Mar 2004 from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Eberly College of Business and Information Technology, course IFMG300 Web site:; no longer there but available in the Internet Wayback Machine at (accessed 2017-01-09)

Dr. Wibowo’s one-page statement to students lays down clear expectations and lists about a dozen behaviors that are not acceptable.

Wise, P. S. (2002). Civility in the Classroom Is Important. Retrieved 19 Mar 2004 from; no longer there but available at the Internet Wayback Machine, (accessed 2017-01-09)

This gently humorous guide might be distributed to students. A sample: “Although it’s probably true that one of the functions of school is mate selection, don’t consider class time as an opportunity to meet new friends and/or lovers.”

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