How can teachers/trainers establish ground rules with their learners?
Students differ when it comes to behaviour and respect for others, therefore establishing ground rules will need to reflect this difference. Group discussion of expectations and incorporation of all views ensures that every student feels heard and included. This form of inclusion facilitates a memorable establishment of ground rules which are individually as well as collectively meaningful. When discussing ground rules with learners it is important for the teacher to establish their own rules which reflect their commitment to the teaching/learning relationship. Ground rules could incorporate issues being fully prepared for lessons and ensuring I keep good time for classes to start and finish promptly. I would reciprocate learners commitment to completing assignment by making sure that all marking is completed and returned in equally good time. Further rules to ensure students get the most out of their learning experience encompasses my making sure all have an equal voice when expressing opinions.
I see ground rules as mutually agreed reciprocal arrangements where others views and needs
are appreciated and valued. This creates a safe and respectful space in which all participants have the opportunity to benefit from the learning experience.
The ground rules can be elicited from the group or determined by the tutor. If tutor-led, then they should be stated verbally or provided to the learners on a handout or slide, with the opportunity for the learners to respond, add more and negotiate the ‘rules’. This provides good role modelling and a transparency about expectations for behaviours. Typical ground rules might be:
* starting and finishing on time
* coming prepared
* listening to others without interruptions
* saying when you don’t understand
* when anyone is speaking, addressing the whole... [continues]
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