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The miracle of pair work

          The Talk Time facilitators I know are fascinating, well-read, well-traveled and highly educated characters.  They’re brimming with personality and drama. They can take an obscure word and act it out, make it sing or walk it like a dog.  They’re full of thrilling and hilarious stories.

        All of this makes it extremely hard to stay quiet, so the equally fascinating characters who are the students can tell their thrilling and hilarious stories.

          Pair work is miraculous in how it relieves the burden of keeping quiet and tips the balance in favor of student talking.

            The students talk to each other independently of the facilitator.  The students could choose from a handful of questions, or form their own questions and then talk directly to each other.  At that point, the facilitator can back completely away and not even let the students catch his eye.  If they catch his eye, they may start addressing their comments primarily to the facilitator!

           Even with only two students, they can talk to each other without facilitator participation, praise or guidance.  With four or more students, pairs can switch partners and talk to many students. 

          It’s much easier than trying not to talk.  The facilitator just  sits back, listens in unobtrusively, gives gentle reminders to take turns if needed and relaxes.

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