The definition of ground rules is “the basic rules or principles on which future actions or behaviour should be based” www.dictionary.reference.com. In any teaching or learning environment it is important to establish ground rules to set boundaries for all participants and to create an ideal learning atmosphere, as 'no group can work successfully without rules that govern interactions and behaviour' (Minton 2005)..
Ground rules are how the class behaves to each other and determines what is expected. They are usually set at the very beginning of the term, possibly in the first class. However what these ground rules are depends on the type of students i.e. age, ability, reason for being there and the learning environment i.e. subject, subject type and classroom environment. Age is a factor because there is a common thought that older students have different expectations compared to younger due to life experience, but this still may not be the case with a particular class. Ability is partly established beforehand by having application requirements, but sometimes there are none. Therefore it needs to be identified in class in order to let students know that patience may be needed in discussion times. Some students may need subjects repeating and everyone in the group should accept this. Or some students may need to learn in a different style,
There are three different methods of setting ground rules: Teacher imposed, Learner imposed and Negotiated (A and Q Development 2011).
An autocratic method might consist of the teacher implementing a list of rules which are relayed to the class on commencement of the course. These rules would be non-negotiable and possibly displayed in the classroom for the duration of the course. This option would be the most time efficient way of implementing ground rules, which may be useful...