Author: GLE Team | Published on 1 November 2023


Educators have an important role to play in creating a safe and positive learning environment. Learners of all genders and ages benefit from clear expectations of their learning and behavior and having these expectations reinforced and supported through positive classroom management strategies. Positive classroom management is a rights-based approach on the equal rights and responsibilities of learners, and teachers of all genders to create a positive learning environment for everyone – free of any gender stereotypes, biases and harassment and bullying. One way to do this is develop a code of conduct in conjunction with your learners and work collaboratively to set the ideals, values and behaviors that everyone in the class can demonstrate to create a positive and safe learning environment. 

Stage 1: Explain the purpose of a class code of conduct

Explain to the learners that you are all going to work together to develop a classroom code of conduct which will make expectations clear about how we want to learn and what behaviours are acceptable in the learning environment so that we can all feel safe, included, valued and able to learn to the best of abilities. 

Stage 2: Brainstorm 

Split the class into groups and ask them to develop 5 – 8 guidelines for classroom learning conduct and behaviour.  Ask them to phrase these guidelines positively (without the words ‘no’ or ‘don’t’), so learners understand what behaviour is expected of them.

Ask each group to share what they think should be part of the code of conduct, write them on a piece of paper and display in a space where all learners can see

Stage 3: Co-Develop a Gender Responsive Code of Conduct

As a class select some of the guidelines that will determine how to maintain a positive learning environment and form the code of conduct.  Ensure that guidelines are chosen that you are able and willing to enforce consistently free of any gender stereotype or bias. Also ensure that the guidelines are chosen equally to reflect the concerns and apply equally to learners of all gender identities. Finally, ensure that the code of conduct reflects learners’ rights and responsibilities. For example, learners have the right to be treated equally, which means they have the responsibility to treat others as they would like to be treated. “Treat others as you would like to be treated” is a guideline that follows the rights-based approach 

Stage 4: Display the code of conduct and follow

Once the code of conduct and the guidelines have been agreed amongst the learners and yourself, find a way to display it so that it can serve as a reminder for all members of the class of the expectations. The code of conduct can be used as a way to reinforce positive classroom interactions and a reminder of the agreement if it is not being followed. 

Want to know more about the GLE Team?

In a groundbreaking initiative, the British Council, under the English Connects programme, undertook a transformative mission to champion gender-inclusive practices in Sub-Saharan Africa with a cohort of 41 dedicated teacher educators and teachers from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Sudan. This dynamic group referred to as the GLE Team worked together to design this resource.

Read about our Creating Gender Pedagogy Resources for Teachers project: