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310 When Learners Disrupt: Managing Uncivil Behavior in Virtual Classrooms

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Wednesday, April 12

Tracks: Virtual Classrooms

Facilitating virtual classrooms can be a challenge for trainers, particularly those more accustomed to face-to-face training. Engagement in virtual spaces is often top of mind; however, what happens when engagement is detrimental? Rudeness, microaggressions, and other disrespectful behaviors can derail learning and may cause psychological distress. Developing strategies for addressing detrimental behaviors will help to minimize disruption and get your classroom back on track. 

In this session, you will walk through examples of uncivil behavior in virtual classrooms and the impact of the behavior if left unaddressed. Next, you’ll look at how to deploy strategies to minimize detrimental behaviors. You will begin with practical steps to prepare your virtual classroom and set expectations for learners. Next, you’ll explore strategies for responding to common disruptive scenarios such as polarizing dialogues and microaggressions. Lastly, you’ll discover ways to recover and restore your virtual classroom after disruption to foster psychological safety for your learners.

In this session you will learn:

  • How to constructively address disruptive behavior in real time
  • How to set up your virtual space and manage expectations for behavior in virtual classrooms
  • Why uncivil behavior can adversely impact learning outcomes and future classroom experiences
  • How to promote psychological safety in the virtual classroom

Technology discussed:

Virtual classrooms/meeting platforms, learner engagement tools, virtual polling tools

Lisa Mertes Sepahi

National Training Director


Lisa Mertes Sepahi is the national director of the training center at the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), a national non-profit providing professional development and consultancy services. With over 20 years in both public and private sectors, Lisa has experience in learning design, curriculum development, and virtual learning. She loves learning tech and received a master’s in instructional technology and media at Columbia University. She blends her learning design experience with her years as a social worker and human services trainer.