Ground Rules

For a constructive and safe learning environment, learners must abide by ground rules to govern an effective exchange and construction of knowledge. Common ground rules, which ensure learning without disruption by members of the group, are: arrive on time, switch off mobile phones and be courteous to other learners.

While it is the teacher’s role to ensure that ground rules would be adopted, (Gravells, 2008) states that ground rules must be agreed by the learners and must be made clear early on in the course to help everyone know their limits. On his first class session, (Brandon, 2006) usually lists the ground rules suggested by his learning parents on a flip chart or chalk board so that they are more understood. He also claims the importance of getting to know each other by names from the first day.

Different sets of rules may lead to different types of group atmospheres; e.g. respectful, honest, open, trusting, tolerant, and creative. This must be considered when deciding rules together with the type of learners; e.g. their age, abilities, values, and expectations (Gravells, 2008).

When setting the ground rules, i ask participants to consider what they want to give, what they want to gain, and what they don’t want to happen. The answers to these questions can help in discussing and establishing ground rules.

Brookfield and Preskill (1999) also suggest generating rules through asking the participants to think about the best and the worst group discussions in which they have been involved. I certainly agree with their method which assumes that the suggestions made by the group lead to identifying certain characteristics through which we can derive vital ground rules.i have also made it a point that all these rules are made so as to gain full benifit from the session they would attend.

Once a student enrols, he/she agrees to be bound by a student contract which sets out the ground rules of the training institution. The rules can be listed, in order...