All teachers had used named lollysticks to pick random weekly changing talk partners. Children are excited to find out who they will be sitting with and like the system. There is fresh conversation every week, no-one dominates or needs permission to talk, so there is more independence. They are willing to work with others and teachers were really surprised that partnerships changed their attitudes towards their peers. Social boundaries were gone and it is more cohesive between genders. The children completely understand the rationale for the system and value it. Their motivations and aspirations have changed. Seating is no longer an issue at parents’ evenings.
One teacher changed the partners on a Friday, which helps the anxious children not worrying over the weekend about who they might get.
Three of the five teachers had created whole class success criteria for being a good talk partner. These stop one person driving the conversation and they know what the expectations are. Asking them to say what their partner had said had ensured active listening.
Children have completed compliment books every Friday, writing a positive comment to their partner. This gives confidence, enhances their learning and reminds them of what works. Children are really proud of their achievements. Parents are aware of what is going on so they have a clearer understanding of what children are learning.
Children taking compliment books home to share with parents provides them with a clear understanding of what is happening and what their child is proud of.Clair Jackson and Vicky Young – St Peter’s Catholic Primary