Establishing Ground Rules
The establishment of ground rules whether written or not can be traced back through millennia, to the living of civilisations before the onset of written languages and the structure of speech.
Humans (in this case man/woman) have lived by ‘ground rules’ that have been passed from generation to generation, improved upon and enforced with vigour. Established groups of people living in caves adopted ways of existing as communities with established individual responsibilities, from hunting for food, sharing the spoils of the hunt, looking out and warning of danger to the group in relation to predator animal or any other things that posed a threat to the group. None ...view middle of the document...
These are none negotiable. They exist for the purpose of the needs of the establishment, how it is managed, and to form part of a contract with the student to maintain the learning environment which is safe, comfortable and accessible place for learning.
Ann Gravells says “when establishing ground rules you need to have an idea what needs to be imposed and what could be negotiated”Gravells.A (2011)Ground Rules, Preparing to teach in the lifelong learning sector. Exeter: Learning Matters.
Her chapter on ground rules and her examples go some way to show that rules imposed or negotiated can sit easily within either category.
The decision of which rule to impose or negotiate is borne out of what you as a teacher want from your students in terms of behaviour toward others. For example: Do you want to negotiate length of break times or do you need to keep within an established time scale of learning sessions? Do you ask if they mind not answering their mobile calls during learning sessions or say turn off your mobile? Being late back from a break when everyone is waiting to startthe next session can cause friction between students. As can a mobile phone ringing, then being answered, it will cause annoyance and disruption to the flow of learning.
On one hand an informal negotiated agreement helps the student feel they are being respected in terms of being an adult, someone who can think for themselves and others around them. On the other hand by imposing a rule on students can at least reduces the likelihood of the unacceptable happening.Both examples have an impact on the whole group and deciding the best way to establish which category they belong needs careful thought.
Whichever category a rule falls into within the establishment of ground rules it is important start to establishment of mutual respect for both teacher and student group. Striking a balance as to establishing how we as teachers achieve the pace and flow of learning, reduce the risk of...