Establish Ground Rules with Learners

The management of the   learning environment is paramount as an effective teacher,

and “proactive problem prevention” (Brophy 1983) highlights the need to establish

accepted ground rules to facilitate effective learning.   Hargreaves (1994) states that

“rules specify acceptable forms of classroom conduct”

To have no rules would lead to chaos, and endanger the pupils under your care. “ No

group can work successfully without rules to govern their interactions and

behaviours” Minton (1997)

A number of approaches to rule setting can be adopted:

    ▪ Implied rules can be derived from the teacher acting as role model and

      adopting a “practice what you preach” attitude, using tools such as presence,

      being organised and delivering effective lesson timing/ direction. Your

      students will look to you to lead – and these rules are unspoken but

      understood.   However, this intimated approach can often be missed by many


    ▪ Learning contracts can also be adopted which are a list of non-negotiable rules and expectations for the class.   Cohen Manion and Morrison (2008) state most rules are based on moral, personal, legal, health and safety and educational considerations”.   Students can be asked to sign these agreements prior to the commencement of learning.
    ▪ A more collaborative model of classroom management would to reach an agreement.   Wright (2005) suggests agreeing a behaviour code with the help of your students, and should reflect the values of the whole-school policy and those of your classroom. To build on “the readiness and expectations of students to develop shared rights” (Rogers 2000) would give your learners a sense of ownership of the rules and leads to the avoidance of confrontation with the teacher as the disciplinarian.   The process is as important as the outcome as this will allow whole class awareness about behaviour and learning.

Which ever method is adopted it is important...