Analyse different ways in which you would establish ground rules with your learners, which underpin behaviour and respect for others. Ground rules are clear instructions of what is expected when in the learning environment, they define acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. They outline set views and needs of the teacher and learners and they should be appreciated, followed and valued at all times. Establishing ground rules is important as they ensure learners are clear in what is expected of them; and they are aware of the boundaries they must operate in so that everyone is working in the same direction.
This is supported by Ann Gravells who states “all students require boundaries and rules within which to work. These must be made clear early on in the course. Setting ground rules helps everyone know their limits” (2007:7) As a learning group we have agreed a set of ground rules these include: encourage and motivate others to participate in group activities and show respect for others, allow others the chance to talk and respect individual differences.
These promote positive and supportive behaviour and underpin respect for the diversity of the learners; they encourage everyone to recognise difference and to celebrate this through their own behaviour. Strategies that I could use in future teaching roles include involving the learners in negotiating ground rules. This can be done by a whole group discussion where rules are agreed and written up, and then displayed in the learning environment. This is beneficial as the learners are actively involved, it should provide them with ‘ownership’ making them responsible and committed as they have had input in the process.
This activity adheres to underlying principles of ground rules as they are agreed through a discussion where the learners and tutor share their view and opinions. Also with the rules being visible they act as a visual aid to remind and reinforce behaviour. Another activity includes learners listing rules in pairs and then sharing with the whole group, to create a contract which they have a copy of and sign. This also allows for negotiation, agreement, commitment, ownership and prioritisation.
However these activities need to take into account the tutor who also has needs and responsibilities, for example keeping the discussion on track and implementing their own rules regarding health and safety that relate to the educational settings code of conduct and policies. Tutors need to also model behaviour and adhere to the rules themselves, creating a relationship with learners and two way respect. All learners are different when it comes to behaviour and respect for others, so establishing ground rules will need to mirror this difference in learners