Teachers already had children in talk partners but 4 had changed to from monthly to weekly changing of partners. The talk partner success criteria were constructed together and compliment slips were given at the end of the week. It was very positive and the feedback was that children enjoyed working with others. Children are much keener to support one another and don’t ask adults for help so much. Children were trusted and showed responsibility. Some children did not want to work with anyone else.
One teacher described having groups of 2, 4 and 8, so if anyone is absent, children can quickly find another partner. There was less disruption and children knew where they had to go.
“There was positive experience of random talk partners for a pupil in my class who is on a split placement. He attends our school on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. He is placed in a group of 3 changing weekly. This group don’t change seats and when he is not there the other two children have each other as a partner. When he is there he is included and the other two children model effective talk.”Lynsey – Lasswade Primary
North Wales Team 1
All teachers had random talk partners changing weekly. Children are enthusiastic about finding out who their talk partner will be and there is no sighing or complaining. New friendships are developing.
One teacher has children give compliment slips to their partner on Friday. They were initially writing ‘You were the best talk partner’ but now they use the talk partner displayed success criteria. Rather than choosing friends, children are now happy to work with anyone in the room. Children are also more willing to contribute.
Taking lollysticks for who answers and saying ‘Tell me what your partner said?’ means nobody can opt out and reinforces that children need to listen. All teachers found this useful.
All teachers said there are times when some children want to be on their own.
Threes was successful at times but children with 1-1 support are still included. All children benefit socially.
Four teachers allocate set places for the pairs on the carpet so they are ready to learn straight away.
Learning partner rules are on display and children remind each other of these. Children are beginning to use eye contact, turn taking etc.
“Learning partners are now generated randomly on a randomiser every Monday morning. Monday mornings are my favourite time as they are all so excited to find out who they are with.
“We have created a ‘what makes a good learning partner’ display and the children are very keen to ensure that they and their partner follow these rules.
“Every Friday a compliment slip goes home. Initially the compliment s were quite low level but over time they are much more linked to our display of talk partner success criteria. Children are always keen to fill in the slips and are disappointed if their partner is absent.”
Laura Martin – Ysgol Glan Gele
All teachers had random talk partners but said it had been difficult for some children who liked to work with a friend. Unlikely partnerships are being formed and there has been huge progress with children in being able to work with others. One teacher uses a spinner to generate partners which the children love. They accept it because it is random and fair. Shy children have learnt to step up when they are partnered. IT has moved from dominant learners to cooperative partners.
Two teachers had success criteria for being a good talk partner which reminds them of the skills involved and that they need to support their partner.
None of the teachers had moved the pairs once they were picked and were surprised at how well unlikely partnerships had worked out.
All teachers had children shaking hands and saying thank you to their partner and writing compliment slips.
Some teachers had moved the layout to rows of tables. Children are now more focused and are more vocal with one another.
Using lollysticks to choose random children to answer questions and sometimes asking what their partner had said meant they had to listen carefully to each other. Some children that previously hadn’t contributed now have greater confidence.
Teachers said this had impacted on the whole ethos of the class, now more integrated.
“The children have enjoyed thanking their partner at the end of the week. They shake hands and say ‘Thank you for being my partner. I like how you….’ This has helped children’s confidence.”
Demelza Hollaway – Dereham Church Infant and Nursery School