Two teachers had changed talk partners weekly although all had random talk partners. Children were really engaged and motivated and see the value of having a partner. They are more focused when working together and are sharing with parents.
Three teachers modelled how to be a good talk partner and also used puppets to model this. An ASN (Additional Support Needs) child who had previously over relied on a friend, has gone through being uncomfortable changing partners to being able to manage better. He is now able to work with others.
One teacher uses the visualiser to highlight children who are working well as talk partners. Children have become more aware of the good behaviours of a talk partners and change how they are working together as a result of this modelling.
The first task of new learning partners was important to develop their skills.
In a school where P1 children came form 8 different nurseries, random partners really helped them gel as a class together.
“I had previously modelled random talk partners through class teacher and learning assistant interaction and puppets and had created a chart showing what good looks like, sounds like and feels like.
“After Day 1 I felt the current system had become rather stale and thought about how we could revamp it slightly with a big focus on modelling.
“I now use the visualiser to highlight successful talk partners without disturbing their conversation. I also use the Freeze Frame method where the 2 pupils freeze and I encourage the others to talk about how we know this is a successful pair – body language, eye contact etc.”Sarah Corrieri – Bunbrae Primary School
North Wales Team 1
All teachers had extended talk partners to changing weekly and having random partners. Children get very excited. Children’s names or pictures were displayed on most teachers’ walls. One teacher began by introducing talk partner skills of listen, look, talk and remember. These skills have developed well and children and considerate to each other when paired with them. Compliment slips are used at the end of the week when they say thank you to their partner.
One teacher asked the children to come up with the talk partner criteria and at the end of the week they self-assess against them. They have become more confident with each other and willing to work with anyone.
North Wales Team 2
All teachers had random talk partners, changing weekly with success criteria. All children give their partner a compliment slip at the end of the week. Children are reasoning with each other and helping each other. They are working with children they might never have been able to work with.
One teacher remarked that she would not have thought some of the pairings would work when they did. Children have learnt to appreciate each other and it has broken down barriers.
Children can now feedback what their partner said where before they couldn’t do this.
Posters show what a good talk partner does. All children can improve.
Children love to change their partner so there are good vibes. Children with special needs have really benefited. Children learn better from each other.
Using lolly sticks named to choose who answers had been very inclusive.
All agreed that this had been the best thing to break down social and friendship circles within the class.
“In my class the randomiser placed the highest achiever with the lowest achiever, who had speech and language problems. At first they were like deer in the headlights, being in a class where social cliques are strong. The higher achiever’s attitude changed for the better and he praised the lower achiever for her accomplishments. Simultaneously her language skills developed, having his higher level language to learn from.
“Barriers socially within the class have been broken down and learning has been enhanced.”Gemma Bain – Ysgol Llandrillo yn Rhos
All teachers had random talk partners changing weekly. Some children don’t like their partners. Two teachers change on a Friday because some children worry over the weekend about who their partner will be. One teacher changed partners through DOJO.
Three teachers use picture prompts for how to sit facing your partner etc. and four teachers have whole class success criteria for being a good talk partner and compliment slips to give at the end of the week. Children like that they change each week. One boy couldn’t cope with his friends now sitting with different partners.
All teachers use named lollysticks for who answers a question.
Teachers were having to adapt to certain behaviour needs in the class, such as autism and so sometimes have to adjust partners.
Lower achievers now speak more, it has sorted out friendship issues and children are listening better.
“Children are recognising that they each have different skills and knowledge to share with each other and that they can learn new things from each other. Quote from a child:
” ‘I like that we change partners every week because I like sitting next to different people because this week I get to sit with someone who is a dinosaur expert!’ ”
Aimee Webster – Dereham Church Infant and Nursery School