As a teacher we need to establish ground rules with our learners for various reasons, these ground rules help promote good classroom management, it lets the learners know the boundaries. Ground rules help to provide a ‘safe’ environment for learners, this is an environment where learners will feel comfortable to express their views as well as participate in all aspect of their learning experiencing, these rules will also safeguard the rights of all individuals, helping to pre-empt any potential situations from arising and promote transparency and democracy.
These negotiated rules can then be referred to at a later date to re-establish them should it become necessary. In adult learning it is important to negotiate and discuss all rules that are being established, the group have worked together in collaborating to create these rules and in agreeing to follow all of these rules. This should be used as a group participation method rather than a tutor led activity, the environment that was created during this activity should make everyone feel comfortable enough to contribute to the group.
There are several methods for establishing ground rules within a classroom environment. Ground rule poster- I would not use this method as a first choice, providing it was not necessary in the circumstances, however in order to serve a purpose above if working with foreign nationals or for a person who is hard of hearing this would be a very effective method. Small group method- I found this to be a very effective method in order to get people talking and sharing ideas, this can be used an icebreaker and I feel that the ideas that the groups come up with help to establish effective learning environment ground rules.
I would use this method should it be appropriate in the circumstances. Brookfield and Preskill’s method- I would not use this method as I feel it does not promote bonding within the group as the students are working as individuals and not as a group. I do not feel that it would be a very effective technique for establishing ground rules. Acronym method- This is an effective method in gaining learner participation, and I would consider using this method if the class seemed somewhat reluctant and may need a prompt in order to give some answers.
But in order for it to be effective the word used must not be too obscure that the class will struggle to come up with answers. (The above methods were resourced from the following reference sources. Heather McCarthy PHD Sociology, Brookfield & Preskill (1999), Discussion as a way of teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms. San Francisco: Jossey Bass, http://gsi. berkeley. edu/teachingguide/sections/guidelines. tml) As a result of establishing these ground rules we can hope to achieve a healthy and safe learning environment, where the student will feel safe and happy to participate and interact with activities, as well as ensuring that a sense of respect is shown to all. This will be underpinned by the fact that the students are not following rules that have been dictated to them instead they were the main ingredient in deciding what the rules should be, every person had an input therefore it is highly likely that every person will feel obliged to follow all ground rules.