Biological Sciences

Learning Environment

A comfortable learning environment makes it easier for a student to learn and the instructor to teach. Interact compassionately and respectfully with your students in a timely manner and it will be easier to maintain your presence as an authority figure.

A Biology concepts and the act of reading directions within the task sheets are difficult for some students. This does not mean that you require nothing of them but that you relate to what they are experiencing. Allow them to express their confusion without reacting in an excessively lenient or harsh manner.
B Grading:
  • Write comments judiciously and legibly on a separate piece of paper such as the comments section of the rubric or on the back of the student paper.
  • Avoid the temptation to edit the paper for the student.
  • Give students enough information to guide them with improvements for subsequent assignments.
  • Do not make sarcastic or rude comments.
  • Feedback needs to be specific.
  • Remember positive as well as constructive criticism.
  • Draw attention to areas that need further explanation or work.
  • If you are repeating the same comments on all student’s papers, consider making a summary sheet of ways to improve student performance for the entire class.
  • Encourage students who are doing poorly.
  • Mark an "X" or slash mark through blank spaces.
  • Use ink to mark, in a color other than that used in the assignment.
  • Double check addition and the mark given.
  • Keep a duplicate copy of all student records.
C The students are at the beginning of their educational careers and need your help.

Maintain a professional relationship with the students as stated in the ISU Faculty/Staff Handbook, Part 4, Section I, R. Friendships or romances with your students are not recommended. If it is necessary, please wait until after grades have been submitted to the registrars by the lecture instructors.


Comply with the U.S. Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Please read: ISU Faculty/Staff & FERPA.


Comply with ISU Policy and Procedures for academic dishonesty.


Comply with ISU Policy and Procedures for disruptive behavior.

E Comply with Disabilty Policy and Procedures.

Understand common classroom dilemmas.

G Do not talk excessively about your personal life.
H Do not use swear words.

Do not talk about drinking or how much you partied the night before.


Expressing too much of your individuality can erode the students’ respect for you. They come from varying backgrounds and may perceive your behavior as inappropriate. Once you lose their respect, it is difficult to maintain authority.


Move around the lab, helping the students complete their task sheets by guiding them.

B Guide your students by asking each lab group questions that pertain to the exercise they are completing.
C Answer each lab group’s questions without being condescending or rude.
D If you feel that their questions are something they should have read, you can ask questions to help them answer their own questions or you can refer them to specific pages in the lab manual or textbook.
E If you do not know the answer, work with your students to find the answer.
Time Management
A DO NOT use your phone during lab. Please put it away. The students are not allowed to use their phones during lab and you need to lead by example.
B Have the students complete all exercises in their task sheets before the end of lab (unless otherwise indicated in the task sheet).
C Do not have students skip sections in the task sheet because you want to leave lab early.
D Do not use lab time for grading.
E Do not work on your own projects during lab time.
F Follow up discussions can be given at the end of lab when everybody has completed the task sheet.

Last Modified: 8/17/15