1. Pair and Groupwork that worksWhy use pair and groupwork? It increases the amount of time students can talk in class. It improves the quality of talking, allowing for more of thefeatures of natural speech: hesitation, unfinished sentences,etc. Speaking is an active process rarely carried out in isolation, soits a natural framework for interaction: talking to someone asin real life. It encourages a more communal classroom atmosphere andhelps to individualise language learning and teaching. It provides students with an opportunity to learn by doingthings for themselves. 2. Compare the pair/groupwork with the traditional teaching.TRADITIONAL TEACHING PAIR/GROUPWORKThe teacher initiates any exchange Students initiate their own exchangesOne student, usually selected by the teacher,Other students respond togetherresponds to the teacherThe teacher judges the acceptability of the response Students judge the acceptability of their words(usually on grouds of grammatical/phonological more naturally, whether other students have gotaccuracy). the message, as in real life.The focus is nearly always on accuracy The focus is mainly on fluency.The rest of the class listen but dont have to doStudents listen to each other more willingly as theyanything.are more likely to have a respondAll go at the same speed, dictated by the teacher. There is more variety as students talk at once.Performing publicly in front of all their peers at Performing in front of far fewer peers and at aonce creates pressure. lower volume is more private.Much of the teacherstime is spent leading the The teacher is freer to listen to more students atclass. once. The teacher can offer more individual help.There is little opportunity for students to say what Students have space to be able to express their ownthey want to.personalities. 3. Making pairwork work: a step-by-step overview Choose easy to manage activities first: start with short, simple activities andprogress from there. An effective starting point is a two minute pairworkquestion/answer drill. Make sure students have got the language they need: try to predic thewords that students will need. Quickly rehearse the activity yourself. As ever, therewill always be unforseen language, but make sure youve taught the most or all ofthe language that you know theyll need. Choose the most appropriate grouping: pair or groupwork? This choiceobviously depends on the activity. Groupwork can be more enjoyable, specially forgames, activities in teams and larger tasks such as projects. Remember that you canalways begin in pairs and then combine these pairs into larger groups to comparenotes. Dont forget to provide feedback: always provide feedback to the class as ahole. Praise and encourage regularly to try to make studentslearning a positiveexperience and highlight what theyve achieved.Equally important is to respond to students as individuals sometimes. Over a termmake sure youve spoken to everybody face to face in English just to make themfeel that you care about their progress. 4. Everyday activities to familiarise students with pair andgroupwork. Do it together, not alone: discussing questions together: ask the questions as usual but instead of asking one individual, make all students tell their partners what they think the answer is. That way everybody gets a chance to answer. This also works well for activities like spot the mistake. Put five sentences on the board, each containing a mistake. In pairs, students have to spot the mistakes together, orally agree what the correct version is, then tell you. doing homework together: its a great way to get mixed ability students to help each other. The focus is on English, the product is in English and students have to vocalise at least some of the words as they work together. Brainstorm together: predicting answers: before a gap-fill type activity (a dialoge, song or reading comprehension) ask students to read the text together and predict some of the answers before, they listen. This gives stronger students an opportunity to help the weaker ones. 5. Remember together: stories: after any story which theyve read and havetime to digest, students can close their books and retell it to a partner. Thisworks best if the listener has a task to make him listen and not just go tosleep while their partners talk. This works well after a picture story. Test your partner: this is the most obvious way to get students speakingtogether and using each other as a language practice resourse. Students look at a page from the coursebook and make questions to eachother. Students walk round the classroom and ask each otherabout the objectsthere( flachcards, posters) Students test each other on a group of known words from their vocabularynotebooks. Rehearse together before any performance: pairs are a safe vehiclefor students to practise speaking before they do anything in front of thewhole class. It allows them more time to iron out any key mistakes, givesthem the confidence to see that they can really do it and makes them a littleless self- conscious.