Ground rules is about setting a setting a coherent list of guidelines of what is expected by the tutor and students while in lesson. Setting these ground rules will assist in enabling the students to have a clear understanding of what behavior is acceptable. Working within these accepted ground rules is particularly important for teaching and learning activities that may require the sharing of a range of ideas, values and attitudes. These guidelines not only help the students know what their behavior should be but they also help the students feel supported and comfortable in joining in and expressing their opinions.
There are several effective ways to create these guidelines. The tutor may decide to simply list the ground rules they wish the students to follow without taking the opinions of what the students think. If the tutor decides to do it this way it can be seen as ???patronising:” (Atherton J S 2013) and for the tutor to be affective and help the students to learn they ???need to get the class with you, agreeing their responsibility??™s, rather than demanding compliance with your requirements??? (Atherton J S 2013).
A second way to create the guidelines is for the tutor to list the ones they commonly use, and then ask for additional guidelines from the students. When someone proposes a ground rule it is important that the tutor asks the other students if they agree to it. If the majority does then it can be added to the list.
The best way, in my opinion to create these guidelines is to allow the students to generate the entire list. It is important to ask them, as individuals, what they feel they need to ensure a safe environment to express their opinions. If the students are having difficulty coming up with a ground rule that the tutor feels is important to the success of the lesson they could try and prompt them toward it.
Allowing the students to generate their own guidelines with help them to adhere to the list as it gives then ownership on how they should be conducting themselves in lesson. These guidelines builds a mutually respectfully relationship between the tutor and students as well as students to students.
Atherton J S (2013) Learning and Teaching; Ground rules for the class [On-line: UK] retrieved 5 September 2013 from http://www.learningandteaching.info/teaching/ground_rules.htm