Agreeing on Ground Rules between Teacher and Students



With the advancement of technology and changing mindset of students, providing quality education in the traditional setup has become a challenge to academicians. Access to loads of information, tech-savvy society and advanced gadgets adds to the pressures of teachers. Moreover, students often look upon teachers as mere instruments for clarifying queries and grading their papers. If this scenario has to change, teachers need to focus on providing an environment that challenges the students to be innovative, progressive and futuristic.

Classroom teaching is effective only as long as there is a strong and healthy rapport between the teacher and the students. Likewise, there need to be open communication, mutual respect and professional relationship between the teacher and the students. The learning environment cannot be made interesting or productive merely through teachers’ expertise, subject knowledge, creativity or commitment. Indeed, these are mandatory for teaching-learning efficiency. However, they will become futile unless, the factor called ‘classroom management’ comes into operation.

When I say classroom management, a lot rests on the teachers’ role in making clear his/her expectations from the students. Therefore, as a teacher, it is imperative to make the ground rules clear to the students.

Importance of Agreeing on Ground rules

Classroom management starts with agreeing on ground rules between the teacher and the students. Teachers will have to clearly lay down rules to be adhered to in his/her class.

Ground rules will help in

  • Ensuring punctuality and time management among students
  • Maintaining discipline in classroom
  • Engaging students in brainstorming and meaningful discussion
  • Motivating healthy interaction among students
  • Sharing knowledge and information
  • Promoting effective team work and group activities
  • Maintaining good rapport, respect and ethos with one another and the teacher

Focus areas for agreeing on Ground rules

The teacher needs to focus on the following whenever it involves his/her class behavior/participation

  • Attendance and Punctuality
  • Submitting original course work; Zero tolerance to plagiarism
  • Discipline in class during lectures, examination, discussion, group tasks and presentation
  • Use of mobiles in classroom
  • Respect towards peers
  • Support for slow learners
  • Site visits / Industrial Visits
  • Participation and discipline in / during workshops, seminars and conferences
  • Discipline during extra-academic / business events
  • Mock interviews / Career placements

Ground rules need to be decided at the start of each semester / term. The teacher will have to handle the students in a gentle, yet professional manner. To conclude, the teacher will have to help students draw the lines for ‘learning’ and ‘fun’, and this begins with the teacher designing and playing by the rules.