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Theory assignment 4

T4 - Analyse different ways in which you would establish ground rules with your learners, which underpin behaviour and respect for others.

Mortar board iconTask Notes: To be able to complete this task you need to know what ground rules are and why they are necessary in a learning environment.


Read the article below; it makes some interesting points about ground rules:

The Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) suggest some activities for negotiating ground rules at the following link: PDF Icon

After you have read these notes, have a go at the activities and weblinks.

Establishing Ground Rules

Ground rules can be established in 3 different ways:

  • Teacher imposed.
  • Learner imposed.
  • Negotiated.

It is not always recognised that learners can impose ground rules but they have just as much right to expect appropriate behaviour and actions from the teacher as the teacher has from them.

The best way to establish ground rules is to negotiate them. Think about how you could do this with your learners. Perhaps you could ask your class to suggest ground rules they would like through an ice-breaker activity, a group discussion, a boardstorm, learner presentation, by post-it notes, flip chart paper etc.

The important thing is that after they have been suggested they are negotiated and agreed or rejected. This allows the learners to ‘own’ them - which should, ultimately, mean that they will respect them.

Some teachers like to keep the ground rules on display throughout the course to remind learners of behaviour expectations; this is personal choice and may be considered as demeaning by some learner groups.

Some ground rules cannot be negotiated and if learners do not suggest them, it is the responsibility of the teacher to make sure they are understood. Health and safety, is one example of this. For instance, if you were teaching a class where safety glasses had to be worn, instead of saying “you must wear the safety glasses at all times in this workshop” it might be more appropriate to ask the group if they could think of any ground rules relating to safety equipment.

T4 tasks ask you to analyse different ways of establishing ground rules with your learners, so you need to do more than just describe how they can be negotiated; you should also discuss which method(s) you think are best for your specialist teaching area and the reasons why. What do you think would work with your learners; have you tried any other ways etc?


ATHERTON J S (2005) Teaching and Learning:  Ground rules for the class   [On-line] UK: Available:

QIA (undated) Agreeing ground rules (online) Available: PDF Icon

Brain IconTopics to research/review:

You now need to consider the following through research and further reading:

  • Classroom management.
  • Ground rules.

Pen in hand IconActivities


PC iconAssessment task


Web iconWeblinks


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