At the outset of the course I would divide my learners into small groups of approximately 4, and ask them to devise a list of ground rules by discussing it together. Ground rules are important in a learning environment as they help to establish what is expected from the learner in terms of behaviour and mutual respect for each other, as well as identifying what is considered to be good manners in class.
I would encourage the learners to word the rules in a positive way, as in ‘do turn up to class on time’, rather than in a negative way, as in ‘don’t be late to class’. Examples of ground rules would be; ‘Respect each member of the class when they are talking’ and ‘keep confidentiality within the classroom – what is said in class remains in class.’ When they had finished, I would ask each group to feed back to the whole class.
I would facilitate the group agreeing on a shared list of rules for that particular course, type them up and produce them for each person.
Each member would be encouraged to personally uphold the rules each week and to hold each other accountable to keep to them as well. In this way we would set a good learning framework and a positive environment to work in. The important thing is that each member of the group has agreed with the rules in advance.