“Good classroom management depends a lot on how you establish the ground rules at the beginning of a course. Students need to know what you expect from them and what they can expect from you during the course. They need to know where the boundaries lie and what will happen if they step over the boundaries.” (http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/language-assistant/teaching-tips/establishing-ground-rules)
Ground rules are useful strategy to help set the expectations of how a group can achieve a cohesive and harmonious approach when working together in the class room. When the ground rules have been established and agreed with the group, this then provides a frame of reference for the future. It is usual for the ground rules to mainly be suggested by the students to give a sense of ownership. However, teachers, might at times, wish to include suggestions in the ground rules if not thought of by the group. An example might be that of not using mobile phones during teaching sessions. This is particularly important for teachers of adults, as it is an accepted way of looking at how students will agree appropriate behaviour, and be respectful during the learning process. Where there arises some difficulties in the classroom related to behaviour and respect, the teacher can use the ground rules as one way of opening a dialogue or indeed to bring order back to the learning environment. A way of promoting appropriate behaviour and respect is to keep the established ground rules as a living agreement, so it may be added too during the life of the group. This could arise if there happens to be any particular issues related to behaviour and respect that may not have been thought if in the initial agreement.
Bibliography: ‘Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector’. Anne Gravells. Learning Matters. 2011 http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/language-assistant/teaching-tips/establishing-ground-rules Accessed 15/1/13 R. M. Belbin, Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail, Butterworth Heinemann, 2003. Accessed on web page https://moodle1.carnegiecollege.ac.uk/ 15/1/13