All teachers had random talk partners already established, starting on a Monday but with set places for certain pupils (e.g. vision/autism). Snowballing was also in place and some 3s. Two teachers change midweek. All classes were using this and the wheel or lollysticks were used to pick.
Staff and children are positive and enthusiastic and the children won’t let you get away with fixing any of the pairs. The system works well. They are accepting of others and adaptable. Good conversations have opened up. Children’s confidence to respond to whole class questions has been revolutionised. It was good hearing the language of them supporting each other in their talk partner discussions.
Having tried trios, teachers felt this was preferable. There is less pressure and eases clashes.
Children make new friends and their social skills have developed. They are very excited to see who their new partner will be and see the benefits of working together.
Compliment books have made children more skilled at thinking of appropriate compliments.
Class success criteria for talk partners were a great help and are referred to a lot.
Normally at this time of year in Y6 we find more friendship issues, especially with girls. I had a group of girls at the beginning of the year who were falling out a lot, affecting their learning, as lessons were being disrupted. Learning partners seem to have stopped this as there are fewer friendship issues in class, it is less cliquey, no more notes are being passed around and no one is being left out. This seems to have brought the class together.Dave – St Michael’s Academy