By Jonathan Rones
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Teachers met and exchanged tips as well as experiences in dealing with problem students at 3:30 p.m. May 1 in the Connector Building of Camden County College’s Blackwood campus. The workshop, titled “Classroom Management – Dealing with Difficult Students,” was organized by the Teaching and Learning Center of Camden County College. The scheduled speakers were Jacqueline Tenuto, the assistant dean of student development and support, and Stephen Hetherington, the assistant director of the Public Safety Department. Dr. James Canonica was originally scheduled to speak at the workshop but was unable to attend.
Tenuto stressed the importance of clear rules when it comes to preventing classroom disruptions. “The syllabus is key,” she said in an interview before the workshop. “If we know what the rules are from the get-go, there shouldn’t be any problems.” She went on to explain that students should know the rules, but the onus is on the professor to ensure that these rules and consequences are clearly laid out, visible and explained.
Other topics of importance that were discussed were, Tenuto said, how to “make an effective learning environment” and student productivity. Hetherington spoke on what should be done in the event that a student disruption becomes threatening.
In addition to the scheduled speakers, the workshop was additionally an open forum for the attending teachers to discuss their personal experiences on the topic. In the pre-workshop interview, Tenuto described the process as “sharing helpful hints and insight.”
Student discipline was another topic discussed in the workshop. Tenuto stated that the Student Handbook, specifically the section “Classroom Management”, should be the basis for doling out sanctions. She stated that this would ensure fairness. “We hear the student’s side,” she explained, going on to mention that the students deserved fair and “due process.”
This workshop is held by the Teaching and Learning Center once during the spring semester and again during the fall semester. A third workshop is held during the fall that specifically caters to adjunct professors. On average, 10 t -20 people attend the workshop and it is rare for non-adjuncts to attend a second time.