47 Ways to Disrupt Your Students!

By Doug Hoffman

Consider the following: In a recent survey, 21 Colorado State University College of Business faculty members were asked to list their top five peeves with regard to disruptive in-class student behavior.

The final tally resulted in 22 specific disruptive behaviors. In contrast, 30 upper-division marketing students, when asked to do the same with regard to their fellow students, generated a list of 18, ten of which did not make the faculty list at all.

To be fair, I then asked the students to do the same thing regarding disruptive faculty behaviors. A list containing 47 unique behaviors was quickly generated.

Food for thought, eh!

Here's the list in the order of frequency in which each behavior was mentioned. Enjoy…and remember…don’t shoot the messenger!

Student-Cited Disruptive In-Class Faculty Behaviors
  1. Does not know how to use technology in the classroom/technology does not work (12)
  2. Speech/Communication Issues: accents, mumbles, too quiet, monotone, um, like, brilliant but not connecting (11)
  3. Deviating from topic (11)
  4. Goes over class time (7)
  5. Consistently late (5)
  6. Takes class too seriously…my class is the most important (5)
  7. Gets lost during lecture (4)
  8. Not enthusiastic (3)
  9. Talks to only one person/teacher’s pet issues (3)
  10. Does not notice when class does not understand (2)
  11. Does not answer questions (2)
  12. Lectures in the direction of the slides (2)
  13. Teaches directly from the book (2)
  14. Does not respond to emails (2)
  15. Busywork (2)
  16. Fidgets (1)
  17. Everything is on PowerPoint (I mean every single word!) (1)
  18. Unreadable PowerPoint (1)
  19. Does not reward for attendance (1)
  20. Tries to be cool (1)
  21. Promotes personal opinion on social issues (1)
  22. Poor explanations (1)
  1. Not available during post office-hours (1)
  2. Orders new books (1)
  3. Assigns books we do not use (1)
  4. Research-oriented only faculty (1)
  5. Lets students deviate from class subject (1)
  6. Acts more like a social worker than a teacher (1)
  7. Too much time spent on one topic/too repetitive (1)
  8. Pop-quizzes (1)
  9. Asks too many questions (1)
  10. Forces discussion when no one is participating (1)
  11. “I’m always right” attitude (1)
  12. Mocking wrong answers (1)
  13. Being condescending (1)
  14. No real-life examples (1)
  15. Ticky-tacky graders (1)
  16. Does not write legibly (1)
  17. Boring videos (1)
  18. Cell phone rings (1)
  19. Not discussing major-project expectations (1)
  20. Repetitive stories (1)
  21. Stops class for one student (1)
  22. Does not laugh or smile (1)
  23. Wanders around the room while teaching (1)
  24. Makes you print tons of stuff (1)
  25. “Sweater-vests really creep me out!” (1)


Sweater-Vest GuyFor what it’s worth:

Ninety percent of these students graduated shortly after participating in the survey. As is the case for all business majors, at least 50 percent of their coursework was completed outside of the College of Business.

In other words, the answers provided above come from classroom experiences both inside and outside of the College of Business.


Creepy Sweater-Vest Guy