Pairwork

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Pairwork refers to the practice in English teaching of having two students work together in English to complete a language language learning task.

Why Pairwork?

Pairwork is deemed necessary for a number of reasons:

  1. It is not possible for the teacher to practice individually with students in a large class.
  2. Having the students talk to each other without having the whole class listen to them lowers the affective filter.
  3. When the students talk to each other they are able to notice errors made by their partner and eliminate them from their own speech.
  4. The weaker partner in the pair is given a good model to follow.

Objections to pairwork

Pairwork is not universally popular and these criticisms may be heard.

  1. It is second best solution to the problem of teachers having classes so large that they cannot deal with students individually. It is as case of making a virtue our of necessity.
  2. Teachers are not able to monitor every conversation.
  3. Students may speak in their L1.
  4. Rather than learn from each other, students may simply re-enforce their existing errors.
  5. Whereas the weaker member of the pair may have some advantage, the stronger member is simply an unpaid teacher.
  6. Some students think the activity is pointless.