Ground Rules

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1. Ground Rules:
1.1 Definition:
“Ground Rules are boundaries, rules and conditions within which learners can safely work and learns”. (Gravells A, 2010).

This above definition explains that all learners require boundaries and rules within which to work. These must be made very clear and early on in the course; these terms could be set by organisation and/or produced by the tutor himself. In fact setting ground rules will help everyone know their limits. Learners like routine and will expect tutor to be organised and professional.

“Ground rules articulate a set of expected behaviours for classroom conduct. They can be set by the instructor or created by the students themselves (some people believe that students adhere more to ground rules they have played a role in creating)”. (Carnegie Mellon, 2005). These rules must be shaped as soon as possible to help maintain order, underpin behaviour and promote respect. They should lead to a set of guidelines regarding acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and set clear boundaries within which to work. If they are not set, problems may occur which could disrupt the session and lead to misunderstandings.

The instructor should explain the purpose to ensure that discussions are spirited and passionate without descending into argumentation, to ensure that everyone is heard, to ensure that participants work together toward greater understanding rather than contribute disjointed pieces. Some instructors ask students to sign a contract based on the ground rules; others simply discuss and agree to the ground rules informally. It is important for instructors to remind students of these ground rules periodically, particularly if problems occur (for example, students cutting

one another off in discussion or making inappropriate personal comments). Instructors should also be sure to hold students accountable to these rules, for example, by exacting a small penalty for infractions (this can be done in a lighthearted way, perhaps by asking students who violate the rules to contribute a quid to a class party fund), by factoring conduct during discussions into a participation grade for the course, or by pulling aside and talking to students whose conduct violates the agreed-upon rules.

2. Establish Ground Rules:

Classroom management and discipline can make or break a teacher. Even the most knowledgeable teachers can struggle with maintaining an effective and orderly learning environment.
Setting ground rules and consequences early, practicing procedures and enforcing rules consistently can contribute to a teacher's educational success. Often problems arise with students because of unclear expectations about your role as a tutor and about their role as a student and a member of the class. Establishing expectations or ground-rules at the beginning of semester can help clarify these expectations and help in maintaining a good working relationship between you and the group, individual students, and among the students themselves.

2.1 Setting up the Rules:
To set ground rules for student activities a behaviour code which all the class will agree with it. This helps to create feelings of trust when beginning to address the feelings the students may have when thinking and talking about the emotive problem. Getting the students to generate the ground rules themselves can also help to establish rules that will be more likely to be kept by the group, as students will feel like tutor trusted and valued their perspectives.

A set of ground rules can be a helpful tool when having to deal with difficult situations at a later date. For example, if some students are dominating discussion or behaving inappropriately, being able to refer back to the ground rules that the students themselves negotiated can be quite powerful in getting back control of the class. It’s also quite useful to review the ground rules during the semester, to get feedback from students on how...
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