Each session will be a facilitated discussion of selected chapters, led by a member of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. 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. It is the students, then, not the teacher, who will have responsibility for developing and enforcing the ground rules. Acknowledge that silence won’t protect you; if you have something to say, you should say it. This study investigated the role of discussion ground rules in an online family science class. Anger and passion are acceptable, but they should be used in a positive manner, not as fuel to create hostility and animosity. Do use the discussion room to promote topic-related educational events, research and resources. 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. 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. Participants should read … If the teacher disagrees with a proposed rule, students and teacher can negotiate and compromise. Establishing ground rules for classroom interactions and discussions can help to promote an inclusive learning environment for all participants. The bottom line is that many students desperately want to talk about diversity and how it affects their lives. From Teaching to Transgress, pages 178-179. Keep your classmates’ words confidential; nobody wants to have rumors floating around. Vicki Lynch, a student of Deena C. McKinney, performed her preservice teaching in Florida. GROUND RULES: Be willing to acknowledge that sexism and racism exist. Encourage students to think about what must occur for a discussion to be successful. 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. Use the important points below as ground rules for discussing potentially emotionally charged issues: 7. Do be respectful of other members with different opinions. Your challenge is to create open and productive discussions where people feel safe sharing their experiences and perspectives, and are receptive to learning. 2. How can students create meaning out of their discomfort? “Could we have one speaker at a time?” is a good, gentle reminder when people are in violation of this rule. 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. Encouraging students to create ground rules, I believe, can enhance any discussion centered around controversial topics. Participants in a discussion need to be scrupulous in policing against side conversations. Loud in a good way of course. Bring Issues to the Table. CONFIDENTIALITY: What is said in the group stays in the group. Effective ground rules help: 1. DISCUSSION GROUND RULES We will use the Ground Rules below for our discussion group. 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. Report Glitches: Discussion forums are electronic. 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. No slurs or intentionally hurtful remarks are allowed. 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. One student volunteered to make a colorful poster of the rules, which was displayed during every session. 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. Some rules that my class established were. 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. Guide for Setting Ground Rules. 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. Most students responded positively to the idea of ground rules for discussion. We acknowledge differences amongst us in backgrounds, skills, interests, values, scholarly orientations and experience. In a discussion book club, the whole group reads the same book between each meeting, usually one per month. Deena C. McKinney is an associate professor at St. Leo College in Lake City, Florida. We know there probably won’t be hurt feelings; it’s like we’ve sort of already apologized for anything that may be said. Take responsibility for your own learning. Some people bristle at the idea of setting “Ground Rules” because it sounds too restrictive and punitive. Every teacher has had that certain privilege, pleasure, and anxiety of facing a new class full of unfamiliar faces. Often one of the best signs of an engaged classroom is having a loud classroom. 1. Rather, hooks says, the school environment often resists critical thought and true intellectual pursuits. Do ask questions. Example 6 (from Dr. Ruby Beale, adapted by The Program on Intergroup Relations, University of Michigan) Multicultural Ground-Rules for Discussion. Work of any kind requires communication—and you may need to broach difficult subjects. By Peter Connor. Members new to these issues are encouraged to spend time reading and listening. This is true for everyone, regardless of our group(s). Encourage respectful listening; 2. 1. A Ground Rule by any other name may possibly smell less. Through teaching courses in diversity and multiculturalism, I have discovered that establishing ground rules from day one allows my students to have clear guidelines for their participation that encourage openness, sharing, and understanding. For the maximum benefit to all, everyone must contribute. 3. Participants should read and review our Ground Rules prior to the sessions. 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. Listen with respect. MULTICULTURAL GROUND RULES FOR DISCUSSION. 1. There are a couple ways to decide which books to read: Let anyone propose a book, then have the club vote on the options. 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. 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). 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 Each person gets a chance to talk. How can we as teacher educators improve this experience for our students? 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. We are all adults here, so we should keep a mature attitude in all that we do. Ground Rules for Discussion Ground Rules for In-Class Discussions: 1. Whatever our gender, class, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual identity, age, or physical or mental ability, we are all human beings involved in a process of education. To ensure a civil conversation: Show respect for the views expressed by others, even if you strongly disagree. First, as teachers, we need to recognize the ownership students can experience in their own classrooms. Students have expressed appreciation for being allowed to help determine the operation of the classroom. SHARES. In other words, the students find their own voices mingling in a chorus within and about diversity. Although she is a notable academic (BA Stanford University; MA University of Wisconsin; PhD University of California, Santa Cruz), hooks argues that academia is not the sole purveyor of important intellectual work. 4. 12 Ground Rules for Online Discussions By Peter Connor Participate: This is a shared learning environment. Sometimes I ask students to begin every response with a positive remark of some kind to another speaker (“I respect your comment. By Linda Fisher Thornton Talking about controversial topics has become a daunting task. 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. 5. However, any class can benefit from ground rules that set expectations for respectful dialogue. Respect Time Rules related to respecting people's time such as showing up, being on time and ending on time. 4. What can make any classroom a safe haven for discussing fearful topics, such as racism, sexism, and ageism? 41. One common Follow these 15 rules of netiquette to make sure you sound respectful, polite, and knowledgeable when you post to your class’s online discussion boards. Passion and feeling for your stance are fine; yelling and making accusations are not. As teachers, we should seek to encourage the construction of such safe places for the spoken word. They have practiced expressing disagreement and compromising. Acknowledge that opinions are often not right or wrong, but merely different. Each session will be a facilitated discussion of selected chapters, led by a member of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. Thinking this over, the students then added a few rules of their own: 4. When a teacher does not strictly monitor a discussion, some students feel personally challenged and are reluctant to participate. April 2, 2019 | In Classroom Management | By Trevor Muir. Time: 45 minutes. No lurking in the cyberspace background. One student said, “It’s almost like we can talk about anything. 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. One can begin by having the students determine the rules for fair discussions. 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. This group is not intended as “Diversity 101” training. Indeed, the students often exceed my expectations of their performance in classroom discussion. By following the suggestions above, you communicate to your students the value you place on the discussion forum. As students approach the teenage years, they become opinionated and are tempted to “bully” their points and opinions. “Netiquette” refers to rules of etiquette that apply to online communication. 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. 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. It’s important that members use common courtesy and show respect for each other. 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. The Program on Intergroup Relations, University of Michigan. Infographic: Conversation Ground Rules. They were not resisting the exercise, but were asking for some tools from me, the subject matter expert. Putting words in terms of “us v. them” serves no purpose in a dialogue intended to build understanding. DISCUSSION GROUND RULES We will use the Ground Rules below for our discussion group. Try this if the members have a similar taste in books and don't want to explore new genres. 6. Share Tweet. The class I use this exercise for is an upper-level seminar of about 15 students. 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. The lower case letters are her appeal to readers to pay attention not to the person, but to her works. Small, guided daily discussions allow students to practice using ground rules. I have also witnessed the result of inconsistent enforcement of the ground rules. 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. Although these tools facilitate discussion to some useful extent, outcomes of those discussions remain largely unpredictable. 3. Students have spoken up more to express their views and feelings. 12. 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. 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). As silence and obedience to authority were most rewarded, students learned that this was the appropriate demeanor in the classroom. Ground rules facilitate engagement and interaction, fostering a positive learning environment and a supportive classroom community. 10. 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. In a secondary classroom, it is a helpful exercise for students to establish and practice using ground rules for discussion. Ground Rules for Group Discussion. The Golden Rule is one of the most important rules for all interaction. Establishing ground rules or guidelines. 2. Do look to see if your topic or question is already covered before starting a new thread. 8. (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. Set book selection rules. Listen and speak with the same respect you would like shown to you. GROUND RULES for Small Group Discussion SAFE GROUP: We will all do our part to create an environment where everyone can be real, open and honest with their struggles and victories. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Ground rules, dos and don’ts. Results support the notion that ground rules play an important role in the facilitation of a positive online discussion experience. Abstract: Traditionally, instructors use tools such as e-mail and discussion forum for online discussions. This isn’t Diversity 101. Jerome Rabow, Michelle Charness, Johanna Kipperman, and Susan Radcliffe-Vasile, William Fawcett Hil#146;s Learning Through Discussion (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1994). I believe the most important way to implement ground rules is for the teacher to consistently model them, respecting various student opinions, even if they conflict with the teacher’s own opinion. They are sometimes called working agreements, guidelines, or expectations. We should keep tempers in check. Increase participation and the sharing of idea… 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. For this reason, I believe the key to using ground rules is consistent modeling by the secondary teacher. This is the first year that I have encouraged students to establish their own ground rules, and I have observed changes in student attitudes. Setting Ground Rules For Class Discussion. National Council for the Social Studies, Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (Washington, DC: NCSS, 1994). Ground rules facilitate engagement and interaction, fostering a positive learning environment and a supportive classroom community. Try to put your statements in a factual or non-accusatory form. If the idea of working with your team to set “Rules” rubs you the wrong way, consider these alternatives: 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. Even though students enter the “democratic” classroom believing they have the right to “free speech,” most students are not comfortable exercising this right. Try to avoid thinking about how you are … Respect another person’s rights to freely express their opinion without fear of retribution. When the subject matter is diversity awareness, the immediate need is to build a community of learners with bridges of understanding. There are some things we can do, individually and collectively, to improve those difficult conversations. Do participate and share your knowledge and experience. 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. 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 not enough to login and read the discussion thread of others. 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. LISTEN: Let’s value one another during the discussions by really listening to what is being shared. Referring back to these community agreements can be very helpful if discussion becomes tense. Our former colleague in psychology and business at the University of Michigan, Dr. Ruby Beale (now at Hampton University) has devised the following guidelines. Our primary commitment is to learn from each other, from course materials and from our work. 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. Barbara Thayer-Bacon and Charles Bacon, Philosophy Applied to Education: Nurturing a Democratic Community in the Classroom (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1998). Acknowledge that we are all systematically taught misinformation about our own group and about members of other groups. Good listening requires concentration and attention. Sometimes, we may say things in discussion that we’d prefer kept in the classroom. 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). 3. bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (New York: Routledge, 1994). 8. We have all made mistakes, and we have all done good things. Equity & Inclusion Group Ground Rules Adapted from UT Astronomy E&I Discussion Group Ground Rules by Caitlin Casey, Brandon Bozek, and Raquel Martinez. They break. Ground rules are a short list of expectations to guide how a group works together. 11. Netiquette: Ground Rules for Online Discussions. 2. Second, teachers should be aware of how ground rules fit into a larger context of community building. Everyone should feel respected and heard in a community of their brothers and sisters in Christ. 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. (Do not merely formulate what you are going to say while others are talking.) Yet discussing diversity issues can often be trying and even painful for some students. 7. Activity 1: Students set discussion criteria and rules. 5. De très nombreux exemples de phrases traduites contenant "ground rules discussion" – Dictionnaire français-anglais et moteur de recherche de traductions françaises. However, I think…”). 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. 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. Encouraging students to write their own rules for discussion and choose their own monitors puts power into their hands and helps them develop a sense of trust. Such ground rules are especially important when discussing controversial or otherwise challenging topics. No one is perfect. Where else will they find a forum as open and, ideally, as safe as a social studies classroom with ground rules? 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. I expect students to attend and actively participate in class – both speaking and listening to others. 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 …