Ground Rules

Ground Rules

No society or a group of people can successfully work or exist together without rules that govern interactions and behaviour amongst themselves.
Ground rules are basic rules and principles on which future actions and behaviour of a group, or an individual within a group, will be based.

Ground rules can be set at many different levels as follows:

Statutory Level The lawmakers set ground rules for the citizens’ safety e.g. the Health and Safety act, no smoking in any enclosed public places, etc.

Local Level For example, if there is a class being held in an educational centre, then the centre will have its own ground rules e.g. no food or drink in the classrooms, etc.

Group Level A working group or class can decide and agree amongst themselves to have ground rules that will ensure a smooth, comfortable and efficient running of their class or group activity.

Since the ground rules at statutory level and the local level are those that are set by other people and not directly by the group these rules are called non-negotiable rules i.e. an individual does not have a choice but to follow them. However, rules set at group level are usually arrived at by discussion and unanimity; these rules are called negotiable rules.

Group ground rules define how individuals within a group treat, support and communicate with each other. It is important that group ground rules are established right at the beginning of the task or a course.

Ground rules can be established by the whole group working as one or splitting the group into smaller groups defining their own ground rules and then the smaller groups coming together and combining the rules that the individual groups have come up with.

In our PTTLS group, we were split into three different groups and each group then wrote their rules on a flip chart. Once each of the groups had done their ground rules, the flip charts were displayed on the wall so that the whole group could see what each...