Pairwork is deemed necessary for a number of reasons:
- It is not possible for the teacher to practice individually with students in a large class.
- Having the students talk to each other without having the whole class listen to them lowers the affective filter.
- When the students talk to each other they are able to notice errors made by their partner and eliminate them from their own speech.
- 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.
- 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.
- Teachers are not able to monitor every conversation.
- Students may speak in their L1.
- Rather than learn from each other, students may simply re-enforce their existing errors.
- Whereas the weaker member of the pair may have some advantage, the stronger member is simply an unpaid teacher.
- Some students think the activity is pointless.