Establish as a classroom norm that you will occasionally interrupt and refocus the class discussion to create a shared expectations about the importance of keeping the class on track.


  • Explain how class discussion will be structured. See example discussion norms from Becky Wai-Ling Packard of Mount Holyoke and guidelines drawn from workshops by Harvard University Professor John Johnson and Harvey Mudd Associate Dean for Diversity Sumun Pendakur.
  • During the first day class session, tell students that you may interrupt the discussion to make sure that there is time to discuss all of the important topics during class.
  • Remind them of this at the beginning class the first few weeks of the semester.


  • Sometimes students’ contributions are too long-winded. By establishing this classroom norm, you can more easily keep the discussion moving without this being negatively misinterpreted by the students.