All teachers had used random talk partners changing weekly. The children all love having new partners (changed by named lollysticks). They are excited, engaged and positive. There were no serious issues with pairings and they were able to have both social and cognitive experiences with each partner. ASD kept the same seat and EAL were placed in 3s. Children could see the process of discussion and could engage at a pace that supported their language.
All teachers asked children to physically turn in their seat when talking to their partner. If responses after talk were not meeting expectations they were asked to talk again. You could tell at a glance which children weren’t engaged.
One parent complained but everyone else was on board, having positive feedback from their children.
Two teachers introduced written compliment slips, one verbally.
One child receiving treatment which compromises his immune system so he can’t come to school, has a robot with a web cam, microphone and speaker, so he can be ‘in class’. He controls the robot by an app on his iPad and having random talk partners means he can have a partner like everyone else. He is not in school, but still gets the full range of social experiences and the ability to learn with his classmates.
Gemma – Dorchester primary