Establishing Ground Rules and Promoting Appropriate Behaviour

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Establishing Ground Rules and Promoting Appropriate Behaviour

When it comes to dealing with a new group of students, the first thing that one needs to keep in mind is that every student, as an independent individual, is unique and prone to acting upon and analysing certain situations in diverse ways. In order to come to a mutual understanding, certain arrangements on anticipated conduct within the classroom have to be made and maintained. According to Atherton (2011), these arrangements or ground rules are "the minimum necessary conditions for getting learning work done in the class". So essentially, the ground rules are a pact concluded between the learners and the teacher; a pact that provides a greater understanding of the expectations as well as the needs of both the teacher and the learners relating to positive learning environment.

There are various ways or approaches in which ground rules can be constructed. The concept of setting out rules is closely connected to the idea of leadership - "a process of influencing the activities of...a group of individuals in an effort towards goal achievement in given situations" (Bhatti et al, 2012). Consequently the approaches of ground rule establishment can be compared to three leadership styles, determined by Lewin, Lippit and White in their article Patterns of Aggressive Behaviour in Experimentally Created Social Climates (1939): a) authoritarian type, when the leader is making decisions independently with almost no contribution from the rest of the group, b) delegative or Laissez-Faire type, when the decision making is in the hands of group members, and c) democratic type, when the leader is allowing and encouraging the contribution from the members of the group.

Every leadership style mentioned above could be implemented in the formation of ground rules in the classroom, the question is, however, which one of these would prove to be the most effective? On one hand, it can be debated that...
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