Ground Rules sample essay

“Ground Rules are boundaries, rules and conditions within which learners can safely work and learns”. (Gravells A, 2010).

This above definition explains that all learners require boundaries and rules within which to work. These must be made very clear and early on in the course; these terms could be set by organisation and/or produced by the tutor himself. In fact setting ground rules will help everyone know their limits. Learners like routine and will expect tutor to be organised and professional.

“Ground rules articulate a set of expected behaviours for classroom conduct. They can be set by the instructor or created by the students themselves (some people believe that students adhere more to ground rules they have played a role in creating)”. (Carnegie Mellon, 2005). These rules must be shaped as soon as possible to help maintain order, underpin behaviour and promote respect. They should lead to a set of guidelines regarding acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and set clear boundaries within which to work. If they are not set, problems may occur which could disrupt the session and lead to misunderstandings.

The instructor should explain the purpose to ensure that discussions are spirited and passionate without descending into argumentation, to ensure that everyone is heard, to ensure that participants work together toward greater understanding rather than contribute disjointed pieces. Some instructors ask students to sign a contract based on the ground rules; others simply discuss and agree to the ground rules informally.

It is important for instructors to remind students of these ground rules periodically, particularly if problems occur (for example, students cutting one another off in discussion or making inappropriate personal comments). Instructors should also be sure to hold students accountable to these rules, for example, by exacting a small penalty for infractions (this can be done in a lighthearted way, perhaps by asking students who violate the rules to contribute a quid to a class party fund), by factoring conduct during discussions into a participation grade for the course, or by pulling aside and talking to students whose conduct violates the agreed-upon rules.

2. Establish Ground Rules:

Classroom management and discipline can make or break a teacher. Even the most knowledgeable teachers can struggle with maintaining an effective and orderly learning environment. Setting ground rules and consequences early, practicing procedures and enforcing rules consistently can contribute to a teacher’s educational success. Often problems arise with students because of unclear expectations about your role as a tutor and about their role as a student and a member of the class. Establishing expectations or ground-rules at the beginning of semester can help clarify these expectations and help in maintaining a good working relationship between you and the group, individual students, and among the students themselves.

2.1 Setting up the Rules:

To set ground rules for student activities a behaviour code which all the class will agree with it. This helps to create feelings of trust when beginning to address the feelings the students may have when thinking and talking about the emotive problem. Getting the students to generate the ground rules themselves can also help to establish rules that will be more likely to be kept by the group, as students will feel like tutor trusted and valued their perspectives.

A set of ground rules can be a helpful tool when having to deal with difficult situations at a later date. For example, if some students are dominating discussion or behaving inappropriately, being able to refer back to the ground rules that the students themselves negotiated can be quite powerful in getting back control of the class. It’s also quite useful to review the ground rules during the semester, to get feedback from students on how they think things are going, if there are any rules that aren’t working or any rules that should be added.

Some possible ways to generate a set of ground rules with the learners include the following:

(1) Use pyramiding to get students thinking about their expectations and what they would like as ground rules. First, ask students to think about (and write down) what kind of expectations they would like set for the group on their own, then after a couple of minutes, they turn to their partner and share their ideas, and then each pair joins with another pair and this group of 4 shares ideas and negotiates a common set of ideas.

After a few minutes (say 5 – 10 minutes), ask one member of each group to report back to the whole class and you write each idea on the board. Once a set of expectations/rules has been generated, discuss the list with the class, clarifying if needed and making changes (if appropriate).

(2) Start with a short list of rules and expectations that you have created, project this on an overhead projector (OHP) or write on the board, and ask the learners to form small groups (around 4 students) and discuss the list, do they agree, is anything missing, etc? Then ask each group to feed back to whole learners their comments. This then works in a similar way to the last part of pyramiding.

(3) Ground rules can also be set up by having a group discussion. It is best to have the ground rules mutually agreed so that both tutor and learner has an opportunity to put their views forward and they must be doable. Once everyone’s views are considered, a set of rules that suit everyone can be designed. Learners are more likely to be committed and adherent to these rules and less likely to be broken, since they were designed by the group itself.

After ground rules are agreed, they will have to be written down and distributed to every member of the classroom, and a copy will be displayed in a visible place in the classroom, all through the length of the course. Also it has to be agreed among in the learners how the tutor will react if rules are broken. Learners have to be warned, as to what actions will be taken and disciplinary procedures made aware which will be different for each institution. This will create a safe and respectful environment in which all participants will have the opportunity to benefit from the learning experience.

3. Appropriate Examples of Ground Rules:
3.1 Examples:

Each and every learner is different when it comes to behaviours and respect for others. So agreements have to be made about expected behaviour in the classroom. Ground rules are mutually agreed arrangements between the tutors and the learners, which ensure that the views and needs of all learners are valued and appreciated. It helps learning, easy in the classroom.

Learners need to know what the teacher expects from them and what they can expect from the teacher during the course. They need to know where the boundaries lie and what will happen if they step over the boundaries. These rules have to be established by thinking carefully, expressing clearly and enforcing consistently. Ground rules can be set either by the tutor, or by the learner or by the tutor and learners together. Here are some examples of Ground rules:

* Listen actively and attentively.
* Ask for clarification if you are confused.
* Do not interrupt one another.
* Challenge one another, but do so respectfully.
* Critics ideas, not people.
* Do not offer opinions without supporting evidence.
* Avoid put-downs (even humorous ones).
* Take responsibility for the quality of the discussion.
* Build on one another’s comments; work toward shared understanding.
* Always have your book/readings in front of you.
* Do not monopolize discussion.
* Speak from your own experience, without generalizing.
* If you are offended by anything said during discussion, acknowledge it immediately.
* Consider anything that is said in class strictly confidential.
* Everyone will be on time.
* Respect each other’s point of view.
* Listen to each other, and don’t interrupt when another person is speaking.
* Don’t criticise or ‘put down’ another person.
* Come prepared for each class.
* Turn off mobile phones.
* Behave Seriously.
* No Violence.
* Helps other so everybody can enjoy the lesson.

4. Setting Ground Rules to promote respect for others:

Well-defined rules in the classroom can prevent many behavioural difficulties. When learners are involved in the development of the rules, they are more likely to adhere to them and understand why they have been put into place. “Ground rules are boundaries, rules, and conditions within which learners can safely work and learn. If they are followed, they should promote respect for others and ensure the sessions run smoothly”. (A.Gravells, 2008)

So agreements have to be made about expected behaviour in the session. Ground rules are mutually agreed arrangements between the tutors and the learners, which ensure that the views and needs of all learners are valued and appreciated. It helps learning, easy in the session. Learners need to know what the tutor expects from them and what they can expect from the tutor during the course. They need to know where the boundaries lie and what will happen if they step over the boundaries.

These rules have to be established by thinking carefully, expressing clearly and enforcing consistently. Ground rules can be set either by the tutor, or by the learner or by the tutors and learners together. Ground rules can be set up by having a group discussion. It is best to have the ground rules mutually agreed so that both tutor and students have an opportunity to put their views forward and they must be doable. Once everyone’s views are considered, a set of rules that suit everyone can be designed. Learners are more likely to be committed and adherent to these rules and less likely to be broken, since they were designed by the group itself. It will instil positive discipline and maximise learning since the rules were set up with them and not enforced.

As a tutor, ground rules will be to ensure that tutor will be fully prepared for the session, be punctual with start and finishing times for each session and make sure markings are completed in time. Tutor must make sure not to put down anyone, encourage the learners, assist in team work, help with course completion, be professional and honest, be non-judgemental and will have interactive teaching and no politics. Learners must have to decide on their ground rules like, respect for others, punctuality, confidentiality, honesty, equality of opportunity, learn and listen, no interruption, mobile phones off, no abusive language, self-control, no politics.

After ground rules are agreed, they will have to be written down and distributed to every member of the classroom, and a copy will be displayed in a visible place in the classroom, all through the length of the course. Also it has to be agreed in the class how the tutor will react if rules are broken. Learners have to be warned, as to what actions will be taken and disciplinary procedures made aware which will be different for each institution. This will create a safe and respectful environment in which all participants will have the opportunity to benefit from the learning experience.

Conclusion:

This assignment focus on the ground rules between the tutor and learner. It defines some general ground rules between them, ways to establish and setting up in that way so it could promote respect for other learners. As I have already defined that Ground rules are the boundaries and conditions in which a learner can work and learn safely so these rules should be be established at the beginning of a course, and the tutor should explain the purpose they serve to ensure that discussions are spirited and passionate without descending into argumentation.

It is vitally important point behind the ground rules that we could provide safe learning environment which promote respect for among the learner. At the end of this assignment, I conclude that these ground rules are the basic rules which create harmonious and safe environment during session, avoid the disaster situations and create a respective feelings for each other.