Reception teachers had experimented with daily partners but found this was too disruptive and preferred more time, so that children could get to know each other. However, the children did quickly ‘get fed up’ with each other, so 2 days was seen as more effective. Flexibility was more important than any set formula.
Talking trios had been successful with children who were elective mutes or those with EAL.
When children were pulled out of class it had been quite simple to repair children.
Coloured spots had been successfully used on a reception carpet. Children were in different coloured rows then were asked to turn to someone with the same coloured spot.
Brighton and Hove
Teachers change talk partners each Friday randomly, evaluating before choosing. The focus is to help each other become better talk partners.
Children talk to talk partners when questions are asked and respond according to the lolly sticks. The expectation is that anyone can speak if they have had time to discuss.
One school has the teacher and TAs names on lolly sticks also in the pot.
The impact has been a wider range of friends, increased respect for others, more talk, greater confidence when talking and when picked, wider range of vocabulary, reduced shouting out and hands up and more evidence of understanding when listening to the talk.
Teachers had modelled being a bad talk partner with their TA which led to children generating talk partner criteria and getting them instantly engaged.
Success criteria are led by children so they fully understand them.
Success criteria have been used for self and peer evaluation before changing random partners, reflecting on positives. This has led to more positive relationships within the class and children feeling more secure and confident. Criteria are used again when they meet their new partner.
Talk partners was a constant feature of lessons. Teachers listen while children are talking, often feeding back key words. Speaking and listening skills were highly developed.
Brighton & Hove
Suzanne Morgan | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Anne Vickers | email@example.com
Paul Wilson | firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Parry | email@example.com