Ground Rules

Sexual health education is most effective in classrooms where there is a mutual feeling of trust, safety and comfort. Having ground rules helps to facilitate a positive classroom atmosphere right from the start. Effective ground rules are:

  • appropriate for the age and developmental stage of your students
  • agreed upon by everyone
  • well explained so that students are very clear about the expectations
  • posted clearly in your classroom
  • referred to at the beginning and throughout the sexual health unit

Make your ground rules list with your class. Ground rules are particularly successful when students are involved in creating the list. The list you make with your class does not have to be long. You can use 5-10 bullet points that are broad enough to cover the key messages you want students to keep in mind. Get things started by using the following examples as a guide:

  • no put downs
  • respect each other
  • no personal questions
  • it’s OK to pass
  • all questions are good questions
  • use correct terms
  • listen when others are speaking
  • classroom discussions are confidential
  • speak for yourself
  • personal boundaries must be respected
  • the right to our own beliefs and opinions
  • we are responsible for our own learning
  • our questions or comments will be respected, taken seriously and kept confidential
  • respect the person who has the floor
  • what we share in this group will remain confidential
  • we will be as open and honest as possible, but we won’t discuss personal issues
  • we can disagree with another point of view or behaviour nonjudgmentally
  • we will be sensitive to diversity, and be careful about making careless remarks
  • It’s always okay to say I’d rather not do this activity or answer that question
  • It’s okay to ask a question anonymously using the question box
  • It’s okay to feel uncomfortable or shy about certain topics
  • have fun
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