2022 Age 11-18: Secondary Feedback from Day 2

Carmel Netherlands

History/social sciences/domestic science/RE

One teacher used card to pair students up and found after an initial negative response to random partners they became quite positive.

Most teachers asked students to fill in a self and peer evaluation form. They are definitely learning from each other.

Two teachers introduced the compliment card after 4 lessons which created a positive vibe in the class. The compliments were hard for them to think of.

One teacher found that randomly placed students created a negative vibe because some pairs demanded too much attention and exams are coming soon.

Three teachers found the random pairs led to positive behaviour and they are learning to communicate with different people.

Four teachers were using a wheel of names to pick who answers questions. Students are now more focused and active

My 15 to 17 year olds did not like the idea of random partners and felt like guinea pigs in an experiment, even though I explained that it had been a tried and tested strategy. The majority of students were sceptical and unenthusiastic. After 3 months of implementation I asked them again about their experience and feelings. The majority now felt positive and some suggested that it should be done in more lessons in other subjects. They felt it got them out of their comfort zone and social groups. It took away prejudices about others. One boy was really enthusiastic and stayed after the lesson to explain why.

English/French/German/Dutch and maths

All teachers changed students every 4 lessons, using named lollysticks for the random pick or a computer generator. Two of the teachers choose where the pairs will then sit. Because students are mixed there is a better learning culture, more focus on the task and a better vibe in the room. There is more peer review, students are more active and they ask less of the teacher and more of each other.

Children with special needs generally did not move their seat and tended to be put in groups of 3. Fewer students feel left out.

When students initially didn’t want to talk to others, teachers explained the rationale for the random talk partners, which led to them opening up.

One teacher had created success criteria for being a good talk partner.

Shy students now have confidence to talk. They feel empowered because they have discussed the question in pairs first.

A great moment for me was to see a shy student helping her partner, also shy, with a difficult exercise. She did it very enthusiastically and confidently.

Linda Kamphuis Etty Hillesum Lyceum, De Marke Noord

Arts/All rounders/Biology

All teachers were using lollysticks for the random pick. It has been very positive, with students enjoying the change of partners and coming out of their comfort zone. Social cliques have been broken.

All students are paying more attention because there is no more hands up and anyone could be picked from the jar of lollysticks.

By working together, students are listening to each other and teaching each other.

Peer feedback groups for 16-17 year olds worked well. They became more motivated, hearing other people’s insights about their work.

I had a class of 16-17 year olds wo could choose to work in pairs or not. The assignment was to make a piece of art of artistic intervention about an issue. Most of the students chose to work in pairs. They were prepared and made mood boards about the issue. In the middle of the day I put different groups of 4 together for peer feedback. They had to discuss each other’s work and write down:

1. What do you see? (no judgement)
2. What does it make you feel or think?
3. Explain about the issue
4. What could be improved? Two tips.

In their written reports they had to evaluate the peer-feedback of suggestions of improvements.

From this students gained insight about the impact of their work and were able to check the impact of their issue through the success criteria generated. Students liked working together: they stimulated each other in their research of the issue and their own feelings about the subject.

As a teacher I saw that the students worked extra hard, kept each other on task and motivated.

Heleen Wolterink


All teachers had started the year with random talk partners. Students were confused and angry but got used to it. They learned to learn from others instead of the familiar students. There were positive outcomes with students they thought they didn’t like.

Students with special needs were put into threes which was less stressful and very supportive.

All had created success criteria and introduced compliment slips.

This year I introduced random talk partners in all my groups. In my tutor group I put them in threes. Every Monday I switch the pairs using named popsicle sticks. One pupil sits at the same desk very week because of his special needs. Parents were notified beforehand. Pupils don’t mind the one pupil who sits at the same seat. He finds it claiming to know that that is his seat.

Tessa De Marke Noord


All teachers had introduced random talk partners changing frequently. One teacher said that after a few changes some students still didn’t know each other’s names. Another said they began to know each other and started to appreciate each other’s skills and were learning from each other. There was difficulty for two teachers in dealing with students who find it difficult to work together. Another said there was more efficiency and more productivity and less chit chat. Everyone participates as it is inclusive. Some individuals still don’t join in group discussions.