What are ground rules?

Ground rules are a set of rules established at the start of a training programme.  These rules are what underpin the behaviour and promote respect of others.

These rules set out what is acceptable or not acceptable behaviour in the learning environment.  By encouraging the group of learners to discuss what is important to them and setting their own ground rules you allow them to take charge of their own learning environment.

By allowing the learners to establish their own ground rules with guidance from the teacher it usually means that the learners self police the rules and are more likely to stick to what has been set.

When setting ground rules with adult learners they are often very different from the rules you may have had to adhere to at school.

Some of the rules that tend to be important to adult learners are

  • Accept each other’s opinions and differences.
  • Confidentiality – what is said in the room stays in the room.
  • Punctuality.
  • Having the opportunity to speak.
  • Feeling listened to and valued.
  • Having mobile phones on silent – it is not always reasonable to ask people to turn them off especially if they have a business to run.
  • Take regular breaks.
  • Any individual needs that learners may have – some of the group may smoke so want a smoke break or have children to collect so negotiate a shorter lunch for an early finish.

When setting ground rules it is also important to discuss any expectations the learners have of you as a group.  Many of the expectations they may have will be rules you need to adhere to as part of being a professional such as

  • Being organised
  • Being professional and fair
  • Equality and diversity
  • Good knowledge base