'No group can work successfully without rules that govern interactions and behaviour' (Minton 2005). How this is done in the classroom depends largely on the type and length of course and ages, life experiences and ability of the group being taught.
An autocratic method would consist of the teacher having a list of rules regarding expectations of behaviour which are relayed verbally or visually to the class on commencement of the course. These rules would not be discussed and would be a time efficient way of communicating essential information for short courses with inherent time constraints; for students with learning disabilities or challenging behaviour; or for subjects which are governed by stricter health and safety legislation.
Unfortunately this method poses the risk of forging an atmosphere which is resentful and antagonistic and restricts individual students from interacting with each other or with the teacher.
An alternative would be to ask the class to create their own list of ground rules. However, whilst encouraging positive interaction between individual students, there is a possibility that these rules might contravene college guidelines and may be contrary to a learning environment.
A third option would be for the teacher and learners to work together to establish ground rules which are agreeable to everyone. This would be a reciprocal process which would establish/consolidate communication between the teacher and the students whilst simultaneously giving the students 'ownership' of the rules effectively giving the class a self-governing perspective. This process would need to be fully inclusive for students of all abilities so it could take the form of an open debate between students (without the need for writing things down which may exclude students with learning difficulties or issues with...