Pttls Theory Assignment 4: Ground Rules

PTTLS Theory Assignments Q4:   Explain the ways in which you could establish ground rules with your learners which underpin behaviour and respect for others.

Ground rules are be defined as “the basic rules or principles on which future actions or behaviour should be based” (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English).   In a learning environment this can be developed by the statement “ground rules set the minimum necessary conditions for learning work to be done”.

Without ground rules there is no transparency about the behaviours a group expects of itself and ‘bad’ behaviours, whatever theses might be, are difficult to manage as boundaries will not have been previously set (“nobody told me that I wasn’t supposed to….”).

Because of their importance to group dynamics and learning outcomes, ground rules should be agrees as soon as is practically possible.  

There are a number of ways that a group could approach setting ground rules:

1) The tutor reveals a set of rules that they have pre-determined as the best, and imposes these without discussion.
2) The learners take full responsibility for all the rules that they agree with each other and the tutor accepts these with no additions.
3) A combination of these two approaches is employed.   Learners create their rules, with clarification from the tutor, as well as being given some ‘must do’ items, as set out by the tutor.

All these would create a set of ground rules, but the question is which of the options creates the most effective rules for future behaviours and learning?

Option 1 is a very directive approach and, as the tutor has decided all the rules in advance and allows no leeway for alteration.   The ownership of the rules lies solely with the tutor and it is likely that at least some of them will not be a good fit to the group.   Their buy-in could be severely limited, particularly if there are strong feelings about what is included or omitted.

Option 2 leaves all the responsibility for the...