Disruptive Behaviors: The Conception and Reaction of Instructors in Higher Education

Nesrin Oruc
Asst. Prof. Dr., İzmir University of Economics, School of Foreign Languages, TURKEY

Problem Statement: Effective classroom management skills are crucial as teacher characteristics, not only in primary education but also in higher education. Instructors in higher education can face disruptive behaviors that jeopardize the flow of their teaching. Since a student’s good behavior is a necessary condition for efficient and effective teaching and learning to take place in the classroom environment, attention must be paid to this issue in order to understand the nature of misbehavior and what determines the misbehavior. Therefore, teachers need to be trained on how to react to and how to deal with these behaviors.
Purpose of the Study: The main goal of the present research is to identify and compare which behaviors are labeled by experienced and inexperienced instructors as disruptive in higher education, the frequency of these behaviors and the teachers’ reactions.
Methods: This is a survey study, and a 20-item Likert-type questionnaire was developed for the study, which all participants were given equal time to complete. The sample consisted of 60 foreign language teachers working at the School of Foreign Languages, with teaching experience ranging from 1 to 28 years. Since experience was a determining factor, the participants were divided into four groups in terms of years of experience in three year intervals. Cross tabulation was applied, and the analyses were completed with SPSS.
Findings and Results: The analyses showed that experience was not a determining factor for most of the behaviors in terms of frequency, whether they were perceived as disruptive, or the reactions to them. 
Conclusions and Recommendations: The idea that disruptive behaviors are also an inevitable part of higher education classrooms has been demonstrated in this study. In the light of the conclusions gathered, teacher trainings may be able to increase the level of prospective teachers’ awareness on the issue by including seminars on disruptive behaviors and possible alternative solutions to this problem. In this way, future teachers will be prepared for such classroom situations.
Keywords: Disruptive behavior, classroom management, experienced teacher, inexperienced teacher.