Analyse different ways in which you would establish ground rules with your learners, which underpin behaviour and respect for others
Example of ground rules ??“
* Be punctual
* Always meet deadlines
* Be respectful to other learners and tutor
* Listen attentively
* Do not use mobile phones in class
* Do not disrupt the class
Establishing ground rules early on in a course is vital to maintain a controlled environment for the learners to work in. Setting ground rules enables everyone to know their boundaries and limits. There are a few different ways of establishing the initial ground rules – imposed by the teacher, chosen by the learners or negotiated between the teacher and the learners. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to the various approaches.
Firstly, the advantages of ground rules being imposed by the teacher is that this way gives the teacher control and authority, thus having an impact on the control and behaviour of the class. It also means the rules are the same for everybody as they are non-negotiable. However, the disadvantages are that the students may feel there not being listened too and that their opinions don??™t matter. It may also alienate some students from the class and cause them to rebel against the ground rules.
The advantage of the learners choosing their ground rules is they will feel included into the group and like valued members of the class, also feeling that the teacher has trust in them. The teacher may find the rules easier to enforce as the learners agreed to their own rules. And the learners should have less resentment for the rules being there. On the other hand, there are disadvantages to this approach. For example the learners may come up with rules that are impractical to the course. You may find natural leaders taking over and having more input, this will cause weaker or quieter learners to feel excluded and unvalued. Also all the learners may struggle to agree on the same rules.
Lastly, there??™s ground rules negotiated between the tutor and the learners. All round this would be the most effective approach; it will make the learners feel included and valued. It gives the learners responsibility for their own learning. Therefore making them feel more in control, however, the tutor is guiding the rule setting and shaping them into practical rules. The learners are more likely to comply with the rules if they feel they had some input and agree with the rules. It will also help the tutor and learners to build a relationship. However, like anything, there are disadvantages. There are certain rules which are non-negotiable such as conduct of fire alarms and general health and safety. Also the learners may try to manipulate the situation or the learners could feel manipulated.
After looking at the advantages and disadvantages to all three approaches perhaps the most effective would be to negotiate ground rules as a class including input from the tutor and the learners.

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* Gravells, A. (2007) Preparing to teach in the lifelong learning sector, 3rd edition, Exeter, Learning Matters Ltd.

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