The four ground rules I'd recommend setting are approach with an open mind, avoid stereotypes, have the courage to get uncomfortable, and acknowledge triggers. Keep your classmates’ words confidential; nobody wants to have rumors floating around. 1. To give them a nudge in the right direction, I suggested three rules to place first on their roadmap, clearly indicating this was only a starting point for their own journey: 1. However, my own approach to ground rules is taken from writings in critical and feminist pedagogy, wherein students come to have consciousness and power for themselves through use of dialogue and critical reflection (4 Individual Development and Identity).1 Teachers using this framework act as subject matter experts regarding curriculum and methods, but encourage students to be experts with regard to their own experiences and perspectives. However, I think…”). (Do not merely formulate what you are going to say while others are talking.) CONFIDENTIALITY: What is said in the group stays in the group. We know it isn’t meant in a mean way.”, Another student wrote as part of an evaluation that “the rules were good because they kept us from fighting ... this class opened my eyes and let me put my prejudice aside.” Several other students explained that ground rules “helped a lot” by showing that people can talk about difficult topics without having to agree; the rules helped everyone express their points of view freely without fear. Setting Ground Rules For Class Discussion. Do use the discussion room to promote topic-related educational events, research and resources. Although no one ever directly stated the rules that would govern our conduct, it was taught by example and reinforced by a system of rewards. Each session will be a facilitated discussion of selected chapters, led by a member of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. In order to create a climate for open and honest dialogue and to encourage the broadest range of viewpoints, it is important for class participants to treat each other with respect. For the maximum benefit to all, everyone must contribute. We know there probably won’t be hurt feelings; it’s like we’ve sort of already apologized for anything that may be said. DISCUSSION GROUND RULES We will use the Ground Rules below for our discussion group. This isn’t Diversity 101. “Could we have one speaker at a time?” is a good, gentle reminder when people are in violation of this rule. Listen with respect. “Netiquette” refers to rules of etiquette that apply to online communication. 3. bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (New York: Routledge, 1994). Work of any kind requires communication—and you may need to broach difficult subjects. National Council for the Social Studies, Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (Washington, DC: NCSS, 1994). Often one of the best signs of an engaged classroom is having a loud classroom. Students have spoken up more to express their views and feelings. Try this if the members have a similar taste in books and don't want to explore new genres. 12 Ground Rules for Online Discussions By Peter Connor Participate: This is a shared learning environment. They aren’t always the same, but include variations on the same themes: Never walk alone, and don’t ever run unless you are part of an organized athletic activity. By Linda Fisher Thornton Talking about controversial topics has become a daunting task. 10. It is okay to criticize what was said, but not the person expressing the opinion. hooks is author of several books, including Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (New York: Routledge, 1994), in which she applies to the classroom her philosophy of liberation from social hierarchies and prejudices. There are a couple ways to decide which books to read: Let anyone propose a book, then have the club vote on the options. Class monitors, one student wrote, “supported already sound practices.”, A few students were concerned that others treated them differently outside the classroom, perhaps discomforted by knowledge of their classmates’ perspectives on religion and sexual orientation. In a secondary classroom, it is a helpful exercise for students to establish and practice using ground rules for discussion. As students approach the teenage years, they become opinionated and are tempted to “bully” their points and opinions. Results support the notion that ground rules play an important role in the facilitation of a positive online discussion experience. It’s important that members use common courtesy and show respect for each other. Different students also volunteered each week to be monitors or “gatekeepers”; they held the power and responsibility for making sure class discussions progressed smoothly.4 I was surprised and pleased to discover that the students’ rules were similar to those written by seventh graders as well as college freshmen, as described by other teachers.5 As the course continued, students became more assertive as monitors, quickly yet politely reminding classmates about following rules and sharing their own perspectives to defeat silence (0 Civic Ideals and Practices). Netiquette: Ground Rules for Online Discussions. Loud in a good way of course. Refrain from saying “I never do that!” if we are talking about something negative or “I always do that!” if we’re talking about something positive. Do ask questions. Do look to see if your topic or question is already covered before starting a new thread. No slurs or intentionally hurtful remarks are allowed. Whenever you hope to facilitate conversations on social justice concerns, whether preparing for a one-hour workshop or weaving such discussions into a year-long class, a vital first step is the development of guidelines for participation. If the teacher disagrees with a proposed rule, students and teacher can negotiate and compromise. 8. The bottom line is that many students desperately want to talk about diversity and how it affects their lives. Anger and passion are acceptable, but they should be used in a positive manner, not as fuel to create hostility and animosity. In a discussion book club, the whole group reads the same book between each meeting, usually one per month. I facilitated the discussions with prompts, asking students to express their views in first-person statements (“I believe… I have experienced”) rather than as absolute assertions. In class, instructors can either work with students to generate ground rules or discussion guidelines, or they can present a set of guidelines and then work with students to accept or modify them. Each session will be a facilitated discussion of selected chapters, led by a member of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. Some rules that my class established were. Abstract: Traditionally, instructors use tools such as e-mail and discussion forum for online discussions. Take responsibility for your own learning. (Download Ground Rules) One of the hallmarks of a democracy is its citizens' willingness to express, defend, and perhaps reexamine their own opinions, while being respectful of the views of others. Having ground rules for discussion in the classroom is not a new concept; in many classrooms, such rules are posted. Encouraging students to create ground rules, I believe, can enhance any discussion centered around controversial topics. Participants should read … Ira Shor, Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996); Seth Kreisberg, Transforming Power: Domination, Empowerment, and Education (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1992). One can begin by having the students determine the rules for fair discussions. While many public organizations use parliamentary procedure as a form of ground rules, such formal rules may not be sufficient or appropriate for guiding public discussion. Increase participation and the sharing of idea… Some people bristle at the idea of setting “Ground Rules” because it sounds too restrictive and punitive. Referring back to these community agreements can be very helpful if discussion becomes tense. Ground rules are not the most important part of the dialogue process, but as grammar is to language, rules establish parameters for clarity and usage; they help students find a common language across their diverse experiences and backgrounds. Listen and speak with the same respect you would like shown to you. At several times during courses, when I would use this roadmap of ground rules, which was adopted and amended by subsequent classes, I asked students what they thought about the process of discussion, particularly its strong and weak points. 4. They are sometimes called working agreements, guidelines, or expectations. It is not enough to login and read the discussion thread of others. Activity 1: Students set discussion criteria and rules. Equity & Inclusion Group Ground Rules Adapted from UT Astronomy E&I Discussion Group Ground Rules by Caitlin Casey, Brandon Bozek, and Raquel Martinez. As more and more classes include online discussion components, it becomes more and more important for instructors to understand the rules of etiquette that, when followed, help make the individual postings easy to follow, keep the conversation thread focused, and the overall discussion on-track. Students have expressed appreciation for being allowed to help determine the operation of the classroom. Guide for Setting Ground Rules. Our former colleague in psychology and business at the University of Michigan, Dr. Ruby Beale (now at Hampton University) has devised the following guidelines. How can students create meaning out of their discomfort? 2. This is the first year that I have encouraged students to establish their own ground rules, and I have observed changes in student attitudes. To ensure a civil conversation: Show respect for the views expressed by others, even if you strongly disagree. Words are connections between people.7 Of course, students bring their own contexts, languages, and lessons learned from memberships in other communities.8 Words are fragments of dialogue that are the building blocks of communication in the classroom. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. If we do say things that make each other upset or angry, let us try to resolve those feelings before we leave the classroom. It is the students, then, not the teacher, who will have responsibility for developing and enforcing the ground rules. Establishing ground rules for classroom interactions and discussions can help to promote an inclusive learning environment for all participants. The lower case letters are her appeal to readers to pay attention not to the person, but to her works. They have practiced expressing disagreement and compromising. Each person gets a chance to talk. The Golden Rule is one of the most important rules for all interaction. In the event that one or more students try to draw the instructor into an emotional response, the ground rules for discussion can play a vital role, and the instructor can model constructive behavior in demonstrating how to unpack such a heated moment by reviewing what had led up to it, in pointing out differences between baiting, debating, and discussing, and/or steering the discussion into a more … A Ground Rule by any other name may possibly smell less. 7. Establishing ground rules or guidelines. Most students responded positively to the idea of ground rules for discussion. Such ground rules are especially important when discussing controversial or otherwise challenging topics. Sometimes, we may say things in discussion that we’d prefer kept in the classroom. Report Glitches: Discussion forums are electronic. Barbara Thayer-Bacon and Charles Bacon, Philosophy Applied to Education: Nurturing a Democratic Community in the Classroom (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1998). Ground rules are a short list of expectations to guide how a group works together. Acknowledge that opinions are often not right or wrong, but merely different. Everyone should feel respected and heard in a community of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Our primary commitment is to learn from each other, from course materials and from our work. First, as teachers, we need to recognize the ownership students can experience in their own classrooms. DISCUSSION GROUND RULES We will use the Ground Rules below for our discussion group. 5 Ground Rules for Online Classroom Discussion by Cristin Peratt on November 9, 2020 Somehow, online course discussions tend to spiral out of control quicker than in-person debates. Share Tweet. 7. The students asked if ground rule one meant they had to speak, even if they did not feel like talking, which led to a brief discussion of bell hooks’ thoughts on the false protection of silence (see inset page 24).3 I explained that the rule about silence did not mean someone had to speak if they chose not to, but that they should not hold back a reply out of fear. 5. Although these tools facilitate discussion to some useful extent, outcomes of those discussions remain largely unpredictable. I expect students to attend and actively participate in class – both speaking and listening to others. Empowering education begins when students help to build their courses from the ground up.2 However, when I first asked students in an introductory education and diversity course to draft a list of ground rules for discussion, many were confused; these preservice teachers were not familiar with producing their own ground rules, but accustomed to having such rules provided for them. 8. We are all adults here, so we should keep a mature attitude in all that we do. On the basis of this type of incident, I have considered making ground rules part of a learning contract in diversity and multicultural education courses. After all, learning to understand and appreciate diversity is not something we can do for them; ideally, a teacher should set positive examples, teach tolerance, and show the importance of respecting differences, rather than trying to break and reset students’ minds into a mold of the teacher’s devising. The Program on Intergroup Relations, University of Michigan. Sometimes I ask students to begin every response with a positive remark of some kind to another speaker (“I respect your comment. They break. Support your views with evidence and examples. Your challenge is to create open and productive discussions where people feel safe sharing their experiences and perspectives, and are receptive to learning. Very brief discussion guidelines could include items like: Allow everyone a chance to speak; Listen respectfully and actively; Criticize ideas, not individuals; Commit to learning, not debating; Avoid blame, speculation, inflammatory language ; Avoid assumptions about others, especially based on their perceived social group; Here are some useful examples of discussion guidelines: Three sample Participants should read and review our Ground Rules prior to the sessions. Jerome Rabow, Michelle Charness, Johanna Kipperman, and Susan Radcliffe-Vasile, William Fawcett Hil#146;s Learning Through Discussion (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1994). Do participate and share your knowledge and experience. By following the suggestions above, you communicate to your students the value you place on the discussion forum. From Teaching to Transgress, pages 178-179. While such a contract has no tangible penalties for violation, many students tend to take the idea of a signed statement more seriously than a verbal agreement or list of rules, considering it a personal “commitment.”6. The most common type of ground rule for meetings is a request for participants to avoid behaviors that may distract them and others such as the use of phones and consumption of food. Effective ground rules help: 1. Respect Time Rules related to respecting people's time such as showing up, being on time and ending on time. Acknowledge that we are all systematically taught misinformation about our own group and about members of other groups. 6. Ground rules, dos and don’ts. April 2, 2019 | In Classroom Management | By Trevor Muir. 4. Here, I focus on the preservice education classroom; the techniques, however, can be adopted for any setting and any grade level (see the inset on page 25 by Vicki Lynch). One student said, “It’s almost like we can talk about anything. SHARES. What can make any classroom a safe haven for discussing fearful topics, such as racism, sexism, and ageism? Time: 45 minutes. Finally, after actually having a few discussions and seeing the ground rules put into practice, the class added several more rules that helped clarify previous ones: 9. Participants in a discussion need to be scrupulous in policing against side conversations. 1. In her writing, she often uses examples from her own experiences as a precocious black child in the segregated South, as a college and graduate student, and as a teacher, writer, and citizen. I have also witnessed the result of inconsistent enforcement of the ground rules. Use the important points below as ground rules for discussing potentially emotionally charged issues: This study investigated the role of discussion ground rules in an online family science class. We acknowledge differences amongst us in backgrounds, skills, interests, values, scholarly orientations and experience. Bring Issues to the Table. One common Setting ground rules for your discussion forums is one of the best ways to encourage open dialogue, develop a safe environment to express differing opinion, and to set the expectation of respect. For example, in a dialogue about race, white participants will often support ground rules meant to keep anger out of the discussion--ground rules focused keeping them comfortable. Example 6 (from Dr. Ruby Beale, adapted by The Program on Intergroup Relations, University of Michigan) Multicultural Ground-Rules for Discussion. De très nombreux exemples de phrases traduites contenant "ground rules discussion" – Dictionnaire français-anglais et moteur de recherche de traductions françaises. Born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in 1952, Gloria Watkins assumed the pen name “bell hooks” to honor her grandmother (of the same name) and to choose a professional identity that was wholly her own. To all teachers who are committed to the idea of encouraging students’ empowerment, speaking out, and community building (6 Power, Authority, and Governance), I offer several rationales for building ground rules in order to improve our pedagogy. For this reason, I believe the key to using ground rules is consistent modeling by the secondary teacher. By Peter Connor. This group is not intended as “Diversity 101” training. We should keep tempers in check. MULTICULTURAL GROUND RULES FOR DISCUSSION. Ground Rules for Discussion Ground Rules for In-Class Discussions: 1. �µS� ò->NI•ÈívGiBÙ)Nyãq®©qùî™Í.�1Ïw[Dˆ¾OuFm ŸÙ|5îæçt¶ŒŸù;®êÛ¯ÒUôPqÓË.ßnQºŠ>�ùW». When a teacher does not strictly monitor a discussion, some students feel personally challenged and are reluctant to participate. 12. The class I use this exercise for is an upper-level seminar of about 15 students. When the subject matter is diversity awareness, the immediate need is to build a community of learners with bridges of understanding. Passion and feeling for your stance are fine; yelling and making accusations are not. Good listening requires concentration and attention. If the idea of working with your team to set “Rules” rubs you the wrong way, consider these alternatives: When the obsession with maintaining order is coupled with the fear of “losing face,” of not being thought well of by one’s professor and peers, all possibility of constructive dialogue is undermined. No one is perfect. Ground Rules for Group Discussion. Finally, when students construct ground rules, they are building a haven where the dangers of a student (or the teacher) posturing, silencing, or offending are greatly lessened. 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