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  1. Just Joined
    English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Turkey

    • Join Date: Sep 2016
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    #1

    I cannot get my ss to do pair work

    I just began teaching prep courses at a university in Istanbul. For a year and a half before that I was teaching at a language school which, I'm ashamed to say, I took less than seriously.

    It was my intention to follow the strategies I learned during my CELTA training at my new job but for the life of me I cannot get the ss to speak English to each other when they are doing pair or group work.

    If I engage the class as a whole they speak to me and are respectful enough but everything breaks down w/ the pair work!

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I cannot get my ss to do pair work

    Before we deal with your question, please click on Edit Post and change "ss" to whatever it's supposed to mean. Do the same with "w/". Then click Save. Thanks.

    As you are an English teacher, you need to be aware that learners on this forum will assume that everything you write is correct, standard English, using complete words.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: I cannot get my ss to do pair work

    I can highly recommend Games and Activities by Peter Watcyn-Jones and Vocabulary Games and Activities or in fact any of his books such as Pair Work 1 and 2. As an ESL teacher I have been using them for years at all levels and they have really interesting easy to use absorbing activities for students.



    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 26-Sep-2016 at 11:57. Reason: Deleting advertisement link.

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    #4

    Re: I cannot get my ss to do pair work

    Hi there - I know how you feel. Since moving to Japan last year I have had very similar problems. Unfortunately my students dont see the point in talking to each other, or just feel plain strange for doing so.

    Here are 2 things I have tried which may work for you:
    1- try to explain how so much of ESL learning is about practising their mind and mouth muscles. This can be done with partners.
    2- Even though your partner speaks the same language as you, there is every chance that he/she can teach you some things you don't know.

    The most helpful thing I have found, however, is music! When I arrange pair work I simply state the goal, e.g. "Find out your partners favourite place in Japan", then I get up and turn on the music. This way they dont feel so shy because the music is creating a blanket of sorts. I also usually make it look like I'm setting up for the next thing, rather than sitting at the table with them and staring at them, so that that they feel "ok this is what's happening now - better get on with it!"

    Best of luck!

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    #5

    Re: I cannot get my ss to do pair work

    I surely sympathize having worked in cultures where this was hard to start.

    Put your target language on the board, with just gaps for students to fill in with the object of that lesson or personal information.

    Remember to walk around the room and physically pair the students, "You're A and you're B.", Use that nice little inclusive hand gesture, bringing them together.

    If necessary, demonstrate the basic conversation with a student in the class, then switch roles with another student. Have those two students demonstrate and now you should be ready to go.

    Initial pair work should be simple and easy, regardless of the level of the students so that they may become familiar with your technique and instructions.

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    #6

    Re: I cannot get my ss to do pair work

    Could you not inform them that at the end of the pair work you will be randomly selecting some of them to demonstrate? I am sure that this will keep them on their toes.

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