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Productive Classroom Behavior Exercise

There’s no time like the beginning of an academic year to set standards for good classroom etiquette, and to help students understand expected behavior in the workplace. Follow these steps for a quick lesson that will have long-term impact.


  1. Introduce the topic of classroom behavior in the college classroom, eliciting answers from students about what they consider to be good etiquette. Students will likely come up with some answers, but you should have a list of behaviors you personally expect from your learners (i.e. policies on phones and laptops, attendance, late arrival, deadlines, courtesy, respectful participation, preparation, etc.)
  2. Write the responses on a white board or project them so the entire group can view the desired behaviors.
  3. Put students into groups and ask them to discuss reasons these behaviors foster learning.
  4. (optional) Have the groups write an e-mail to you explaining how positive classroom behavior might reflect practices in the workplace. Many students have jobs. They might be able to contribute insights into desirable attitudes and behaviors at work.

Want to infuse a little technology into this activity? Here's a video to show you how you could use a tool called Padlet to create a "backchannel" for your students to submit their ideas (note: no audio):



  • Go to (or create a new free account)
  • Start a new pallet and use the “Backchannel” template
  • Change the title of the Padlet to the question you want students to respond to
  • Go to the Share button and share the blank Padlet with either a link or a QR code
  • Students can then log into Padlet (after creating a free account) and respond to the question anonymously.
  • Students answers appear on the screen as soon as they submit them
  • You can discuss their responses in class and afterwards even save them to PDF


(note: Padlet is not affiliated with Cengage - it's just a cool edtech tool)