Despite the arguments of some that you should “teach naked,” spending class time on discussion and shifting the presentation of material outside of the classroom, there are going to be times that you want to present information to students in the classroom. The classroom is like a war zone in that it is best to go in with a plan, even though that plan may be blown to bits. Toward this end Tenured Radical posted some tips today for how to manage lecture classes. For example:
Establish the Rules. Every social space has its own etiquette, and similar social spaces do not always have the same etiquette. While there are some things that students know they shouldn’t be doing in class (surfing the web, indulging in side conversations, passing notes) there are other things that vary from classroom to classroom (eating and drinking, leaving the room for reasons of hygiene, coming late or leaving early, cutting class entirely.) Instead of establishing a set of rules and becoming an enforcer (something that is easier to get away with when you are older and your reputation as a cantankerous old fart is well established), consider setting aside a portion of the first class to consult your students about what they think is appropriate classroom behavior.
Be warned, however, that if you ask for student feedback on rules such as these you are likely to find that a vocal minority of students feel that they should be able to come and go as they please, text during class, and use their desks as uncomfortable pillows.