All teachers had introduced random learning partners changing weekly. Teachers were surprised at how pairings they thought would never work had proven that they could.
Postcards had often been used to thank their learning partner at the end of the week, helping them to reflect on being an effective partner.
One teacher had a Velcro board with the children’s faces which helps them remember.
Discussing what makes a good learning partner helped them remember those skills. Behaviour hasn’t changed and the system quickly becomes the norm.
When there are speech and language needs, even in a 3 it is still a challenge for those children.
One teacher said her autistic child had been very involved and had made much social progress, having previously needed to be with the same partner.
Collective Student Efficacy
Children are becoming more collaborative, really listening to each other, moving from ‘I’ to ‘We’ and a shared responsibility. This was compared to a similar outcome when the rewards were removed.
All teachers used the named lollysticks to pick random talk partners every Monday. No children had complained about their partner. Teachers had been surprised by how well the children work well together, especially those who wouldn’t have been put together in the past. Lessons are noisier from more talk but are more productive. Teacher support is needed less often as partners are using each other more often. After a slow start even the lower achievers and EAL and SEN are talking more. Shy children can no longer hide.
Having learning partners frees up the teacher. Especially useful in maths lessons. The partners reassures children and gives them confidence. They build on each other’s ideas.
Learning partners supports new children joining the class.
My lower achievers who were working at level 1e in maths are now working at 2e as they’ve been exposed to the Y2 curriculum and tasks by being with a learning partner. Their writing is still at level 1e.
Emma Carter – Newport Primary
One teacher found the partners don’t work so well for guided writing, so ability groups are still used for those.