From: Gravells, A (2008) Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (3rd Edition) Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd. Pages 7-8
All learners require boundaries and rules within which to work. These must be made clear early on in the course; they could be set by your organisation and/or produced by yourself. Setting ground rules will help everyone know their limits. Learners like routine and will expect you to be organised and professional. Always start a session on time, stating what is going to be delivered, recapping points along the way and summarising at the end is a useful approach.
Imagine you have a new group of 15 learners. You have decided to let them agree their own ground rules. If the group take ownership for their own rules, they are more likely to keep to them. What would you like them to decide?
Your response as a tutor might be based upon a previous course you have attended as a learner; where you were, or were not, given any ground rules. Without ground rules, disruption may occur and affect the learning of the group.
A group of adult learners are taking a course in art and design. They have agreed the following ground rules:
• arrive on time;
• switch off mobile phones;
• be polite and courteous to other learners and the tutor;
• don’t eat or drink in class;
• listen attentively
• return punctually from breaks.
Having ground rules gives a firm boundary for all learners to work within. Often, if a ground rule is broken, it is the other learners that will reprimand the offender, saving you the job.