Analyse different ways in which you would establish ground rules with your learners, which underpin behaviour and respect.
Ground rules form boundaries; setting rules is important because they determine a respectful code of conduct for teachers and learners. These rules help manage and provide structured lessons in a safe environment for students to learn. Working in a calm and respectful atmosphere gives learners the freedom to express their opinions without fear of prejudice. Francis & Gould (2009:22) agree that `learners need a sense of structure and will feel psychologically safer if they know where they stand`. Therefore, it is important for teachers to set ground rules with adults because it helps them commit to the agreed rules and they are more likely to adhere to them. Giving adults the responsibility to decide for themselves what is appropriate and respectful within the group will give them a sense that their contribution is valued and sense of ownership. According to Knowles et al (2005), children are parent and teacher led because how and what they learn is determined for them. Adults, however, have gained the legal right to take responsibility for their actions and decide how and what they learn for themselves.
Discussing different ways and methods of establishing ground rules with learners will help them understand why they are used and their relevance. According to the City and Guilds pre-course activity book (2011:4) there are three ways for setting ground rules: `Teacher imposed, Personal rules and Negotiated`,
Teacher imposed rules underpin what is expected from the learners; punctuality, assignment deadlines, adhering to various rules imposed by legislation such as Health and Safety procedures, obligations under the various Acts as well as the Institution’s charter. These non-negotiable rules form the basis upon which the running of courses and institutions effectively run.
Personal rules hands over ownership of some self-imposed rules to each individual member of the group. Such rules include deciding upon time for writing assignments and usually draw from the student’s own ideas and life experiences.
Negotiated allows mutually agreed terms between the group and teacher; These include drinking water during lesson, allocated period for breaks and dress code. Methods such as, group games, designing banners, or written lists could be used to establish ground rules producing a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere. Gravells (2011) recommends group activities when negotiating ground rules. She mentions the need to understand the difference between imposed and negotiated rules and points out that setting ground rules early can prevent misunderstandings and underpin appropriate respectful behaviour expected from learners.
Negotiated ground rules is the method I prefer to use when teaching First Aid. However, I have to impose some rules because