Learners of all ages require boundaries and rules in which to work within. By setting these out from the start of any training programme regardless of the length of the course (For example a one day course or an entire semester) you will create an environment of trust and respect which will enable learners to achieve their goals. By having ground rules in place that learners have been involved in the process of making, Ann Gravells (2006 p8) states that ‘having ground rules gives a firm boundary for all learners to work within’.
Roberto Marzano’s study into Classroom Management (2003) discovered that by clearly and simply expressing rules and expectations, cause and consequence, that the number of ...view middle of the document...
I am most familiar with teaching groups of up to 20 students aged 18 to 60 and found that by involving the learners in creating the ground rules, they are more likely to adhere to them. If the whole group is made up of confident individuals, I would ask the learners to shout out their thoughts in a brainstorming session and write them on a flipchart. By using Flemings VAK model, the visual learners would relate to the written notes on the flipchart, the auditory learners would relate to the spoken rules and the kinaesthetic learners would relate by being involved in the process. Through all learners being involved in their own particular style of learning would help to satisfy their safety needs as suggested by Maslow.
If some learners are shy or nervous I would adopt a different approach to ensure that each is involved. I would either put the learners into smaller groups and challenge each group to come up with as many ideas as they think necessary. This would encourage the learners to communicate with each other as well as setting the boundaries within which to learn. I may also ask the learners to each write one rule and put it in an anonymous box for me to read out.
For younger students, I would ensure that they were all involved in the decision making process. I would start by asking them about why we have rules in sports and try and relate this to the rules in the classroom. I may also include a game such as setting up a student council and for them to decide on a list of rules I have given them. I would ask them if they think the rule is fair, why it has been suggested and so on.