Pttls Theory 4

4) The best way to establish ground rules is to negotiate them. It is important that after ground rules have been suggested they are negotiated and agreed or rejected. This allows the learners to feel ‘ownership’ of them as they are not imposed - which should, mean that they will respect them, and learners have just as much right to expect appropriate behaviour and actions from the teacher (or learning provider) as the teacher has from them.

I would get the class to suggest ground rules they would like through an ice-breaker activity in the first session, a group discussion, brainstorm, or 'post it notes'.   When the rules had been agreed upon, I would then get the learners to draw up the rules as a charter and get everyone to sign it, to state that they understood and agreed. If transparency isn’t ensured, ethically it wouldn't be right to castigate learners for violating rules when they may not have been aware of them or fully understood them.

I would consult the learners as to whether to keep the ground rules on display throughout the course to remind the group of our expectations; as this may be helpful to some groups, but, may be viewed as demeaning by other learner groups.

Some ground rules must be complied with and if learners do not suggest them, it is the responsibility of the teacher to make sure they are understood. Health and safety, is an example of this. For instance I will probably be teaching a class were computers or electronic equipment will be used, instead of saying “you must not have drinks near the equipment” it would be more appropriate to ask the group if they could think of any ground rules relating to health and safety or correct practice.