Ground rules could be established by asking learners to come up with the rules themselves with input from the tutor. Having learners proactively engaged in writing their ground rules gives a sense of ownership. (Bee and Bee 1998). An autocratic approach, presenting the learners a set of rules created prior to the lesson, ensures learners have a clear understanding of what is acceptable/unacceptable behaviour, as advocated by Smith (1988). However, this may engender learners’ lack of ownership of the ground rules. Learners are less likely to engage in subsequent activities because a dictatorial tone has been set. Both approaches allow the tutor to include the college requirements as well as learner preferences and needs. Maslow’s (1954) Hierarchy of Needs would be a framework for the ground rules by including rules that focus on how learners respond to other’s views and how individuals deal with differing opinions.
Consistency in approach to discipline within lessons, as advocated by Rogers (2003), including how inappropriate behaviour is dealt with is necessary otherwise other learners may be put off and opt out. Disruptive behaviour by some learners encourages others to do the same, compromising the tutor authority and ability to control the group and interfering with their ability to teach effectively. Threatening and offensive behaviour challenges the tutor’s authority and creates tension in the classroom, pushing learning to the background. [continues]
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