Explain the ways in which you would establish ground rules with your learners, which underpin behaviour and respect for others (150 - 250 words).
Ground rules are the minimum necessary conditions for getting learning work done in the class (Atherton, 2009). They may include such things as: arriving on time, mobile phone and computer use, eating and drinking in class, turn taking in discussions, reporting absence, not interrupting, etc. Ground rules should promote respect between the teacher and learners and between learners within the learning group. They should promote a safe learning environment where everyone feels as though they and their contribution will not be ridiculed. Ideally, one should establish any ground rules at the start of a new session. The process should involve both teacher and learners. This has two benefits: it allows everyone in the class to remind contraveners of the rules and, by including the learners, one is getting them to agree to their responsibilities rather than demanding compliance with ‘rules’. In a large class, the learners could be divided into smaller groups and given a flip chart to write down what they consider to be important ground rules. At the end of the exercise the lists could be combined. The ground rules should then be made explicit. For example, they could be written down and pinned to the wall. In this way, should there be a contravention, they can be referred back to and the group reminded that they helped make them. Finally, not all of the rules should be written in stone and there should be room for negotiation. For example, if a learner knows they may be late for the class due to a prior appointment, the rule on time keeping could be relaxed for them on this occasion.
ATHERTON J S (2009) Learning and Teaching; Ground rules for the class [On-line] UK: Available:
http://www.learningandteaching.info/teaching/ground_rules.htm Accessed: 30 April 2010