Set explicit rules for civil behavior. You can have students generate these or provide them with a set of guidelines.
- Becky Wai-Ling Packard, author of “Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented Students: A Research-Based Guide for Faculty and Administrators” provides a sample syllabus with discussion norms.
- Here are some helpful guidelines for setting classroom norms, which were drawn from workshops by Harvard University Professor John Johnson and Harvey Mudd Associate Dean for Diversity Sumun Pendakur (SettingDiscussionNorms.docx).
- Consider discussing with the students why such rules are good to have.
- Explicit rules create shared expectations that will help discussions be productive. Not all students will know how to identify appropriate and inappropriate contributions.