Setting Ground Rules

Sexual Health Education happens most effectively in a classroom where there is a mutual feeling of trust, safety and comfort. Having ground rules in place can be a very successful way to facilitate a positive classroom atmosphere. You may want to choose the ground rules that fit your classroom from the suggestions offered below, or use the examples provided to develop your own.

Effective ground rules:

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

Ground Rules Example: Elementary

  • No put downs.
  • 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.

Safer Choices, ETR Associates, 1998

Ground Rules Example: Junior

  • We have personal boundaries that must be respected.
  • We have the right to our own beliefs and opinions.
  • We have the right to pass.
  • We are responsible for our own learning.
  • Our questions or comments will be respected, taken seriously, and kept confidential.

STD Teaching Outline and Resource Guide, AB Health and Wellness, 2000

Ground Rules Example: Differing Abilities

  • Listen to each other.
  • Ask questions and let others take turns.
  • We can laugh with each other, but not at each other.
  • Use the correct body part names.

Ground Rules Example: Senior/Adult

  • 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 is always okay to say I’d rather not do this activity or answer that question.
  • It is okay to ask a question anonymously using the question box.
  • It is okay to feel uncomfortable.

Adapted from Life Planning Education. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth

Ground Rules Example: Junior/Senior

Everyone has the right to:
  • Participate.
  • Pass.
  • Respect.
  • Confidentiality.
  • Enjoy the Learning Experience.

Calgary Birth Control Association