One teacher described how children organise the random choosing, coming up to choose a lolly stick, while the class cheers and drum rolls. Children sit with their partner for a week and each child has a book of certificates from their partner with their comments. Parents love these books as they can see the comments children have made about their child.
One child who preferred to sit on his own was encouraged by the class to be with a talk partner. He now happily sits with a partner.
In one class 2 children didn’t get on well so it was discussed how they could get on better. This made a difference and made parents very happy.
Higher achievers are finding it harder to get on with lower achieving partners because they feel they know more. This is improving as the teacher keeps reinforcing a growth mindset.
Teachers had used random talk partners, sitting with their partner for every lesson except guided reading when children go to a horseshoe table. Behaviour was improved and girls are talking more.
Children give complement slips to each other which has bonded classes. Success criteria are displayed for being a good talk partner.
In one classroom, autistic or deaf children don’t move, other children move around them. This has made those children more settled.
Teachers changed random talk partners weekly and evaluate against class generated success criteria for being a good talk partner. Next steps for each child are kept in the back of a book. Talk partners are used across the curriculum.
The SLD school found this more difficult but used talk tables, with a member of staff to support.
Children talk about their learning now with others and SEN children are more confident at talking. Higher achievers support lower achievers. Despite negative expectations, the pairings seem to succeed!
One teacher used a random name selector. Talk partner success criteria are clearly displayed and children can identify what makes a good partner.
Some good comments: ‘I don’t like when my partner just says the first thing that comes into their head.’
Children don’t like being interrupted by the teacher during paired discussion. Children really own their discussions.
Sometimes less confident children don’t like to share ideas with the whole group but still get to share their ideas with their partner.
The culture of talk partners being there to help them learn is established. Higher achievers have realised they can learn from each other.
Claire Hodgson | firstname.lastname@example.org
Tower Hamlets, London
Stella Smith | email@example.com
Stella Smith | firstname.lastname@example.org
Pauline Hill | email@example.com