Setting ground rules provides the framework to promote respect and set the tone for how learning will take place. Gravells states ‘They should always be discussed and negotiated with learners rather than imposed’ (Gravells A 2011). Here I will analyse how I establish ground rules with a group of ‘in company’ learners attending a programme of resource management training. The training will be delivered over a two week period consisting of four one hour sessions.
Ground rules are designed to take account of the subject being covered, the expectations of the learners and the tutor, the age, ethnic background, gender and also provide understanding of what is acceptable behaviour. Francis and Gould suggest that ground rules are ‘an agreed code of behaviour within a learning group’ (Francis, M. Gould, J 2009). My learners are familiar with the culture of the organisation and what is acceptable – for example no smoking, treating each other with respect, health and safety requirements.
However the group is made up of people from different grades and I need to establish the framework which all will buy into to ensure learning takes place. I do this by setting out the aims of the course, then stimulating discussion and negotiation of the rules which all can buy into. Areas covered include agreeing the start time, mobile phones switched off, prompt attendance, full participation by all, listening to each others views. By writing up the ‘rules’ on a flip chart and getting agreement from all to sign up to them encourages ‘buy in’.
It is essential that the group takes ownership and responsibility and to begin working together as a group. If I had imposed the ground rules this could cause resentment with some members ignoring them Saoirse explains that ‘the main problem with tutor set rules is that students may not fully buy into them’ (Saoirse 2010) By pinning up the ‘rules’ at each session will act as a reminder to all. This is essential. Often when managers attend training events they can be disruptive in checking mobile phone messages and arriving late or taking time out to attend to ‘a very important matter which cannot wait’.
By getting the group to agree the rules this sets the tone for working together and respect for each other. This training is mandatory and therefore each individual is taking ownership to ensure that the training is completed successfully. Gravells A (2011) Preparing to teach in the lifelong learning sector (4th Edition) Francis, M. Gould, J. (2009) Achieving your PTTLS Award: A Practical Guide to Successful Teaching in the Life long Learning Sector Saoirse. (2010) Ground Rules. http://www. cyberessays. com