Establishing ground rules and learning agreements
Welcome to week two of this course - we hope you found week one insightful and are looking forward to further learning. This week we will explore how to establish ground rules, create learning agreements consider differences for pupils with Speech, Language and Communication Needs.
“Exploration and learning is best done within a safe learning environment, where everyone can positively contribute to a discussion without fear of ridicule or attack. Setting up a working agreement ensures students ‘opt in’ and take responsibility for the way in which their group (of students and teachers within a classroom) is going to work. This agreement is negotiated between the group (including the teacher) and displayed clearly during each lesson. It is most effective when it is used as a contract from the very beginning, and should be reviewed and amended over time.”
“Another way of developing and framing an agreement is to encourage pupils to think about Rights and Responsibilities within the group. Each person in the group has: -the right to speak – and the responsibility to listen to others -the right to express their views – and the responsibility to hear the views of the others -the right to pass on an individual question if uncomfortable – and the responsibility to participate in discussions.”
Reference: De Silva, S and Blake S, (2006) Positive Guidance on Aspects of Personal, Social and Health Education, NCB, London, page 7
The teaching of RSE and Health does require an understanding by staff and students that discussions can sometimes be of a sensitive nature. For effective teaching and learning to occur, a climate which allows us to function at our optimum level is key. Consideration needs to be given to the classroom and school environment which helps teachers to manage sensitive issues effectively, including the boundaries for these discussions.
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