Pttls Ground Rules

Analyse different ways in which you would establish ground rules with your learners, which underpin behaviour and respect for others.

‘Ground rules are boundaries, rules and conditions within which learners can safely work and learn. They should underpin appropriate behaviour and respect for every-one in the group, including the teacher, and ensure the session runs smoothly.’
(Gravell, 2011, p75)

The best way to establish ground rules is to negotiate, in this way the learners feel part of the process and ‘buy in’ to the rules. I have used a number of methods to enable the learners to be actively involved in the creation of rules, some of these are detailed here.

One method splits the class into small groups to discuss possible ground rules and write each idea on a sticky note. I regroup the class, put all the notes onto a large sheet of paper and group similar ideas together. The class work together, to discuss and select the ground rules.

Another method asks the learners to reflect on their previous experience. Splitting learners into small groups, I ask them to think about the best and worst groups that they have been in and what made them like this. I regroup the class to discuss what can be done to prevent those bad experiences happening again. From these suggestions we draft a set of ground rules to promote a positive atmosphere.

To be a little more directive, I sometimes select a number of rules in advance, some sensible, some not. I write them on paper, one for each learner and get them to read out the possible ground rules, deciding if they agree or disagree with it and why. The rest of the class can say whether they agree to accept or reject the rule. I collate the agreed rules onto a large piece of paper.

The method that I use most is to split the class into groups; provide each group with a large piece of paper; ask each group to brainstorm possible ground rules and write them down. I then display all the sheets and we compare the...