How to Pair or Group Students


When you tell your students “You three work together”, there will probably be some among the majority who will complain and tell that they don’t want to work with A or B in that group. They will sulk, they won’t contribute, isolate themselves or even worse they won’t let the other members work. However; if you do it randomly, and if you use a different technique from time to time, the complaints will be less. I’d like to share some of the methods I use to group or pair my students.


  1. Ask students to gather together as 1st child, middle child, younger child or single child of their families. Let them speak about the differences or similarities they experience for five minutes. Then tell them to report to the whole class and then tell them they will work together for the next activity.
  2. Ask students to gather together according to their zodiac signs. Let them speak for five minutes and find common things in their personalities. Then tell them to report to the whole class and Finally tell them they will work together for the next activity.
  3. Prepare 4-5 different card sets in different colors. Laminate them if possible and keep them in an envelope at the back of your lesson planning notebook, course book or file and use them to group your students. As all reds in one group, all greens in another group, etc.
  4. Tell students to line up according alphabetically, according to the months they were born in or heights, etc. Then team them as fours or fives regarding your activity.
  5. You can prepare cards with different shapes, pictures on them. Put them in a bag or a box, shuffle them and ask students to pick one. Then tell them they will work together with the ones who have the same picture, image on their cards.
  6. Bring smarties into the class, tell them they should only take one from the box and then group them according to the colour of the candy they chose. You can do this with mini mars, twix or sneakes bars as well. Put them in a box and ask them to pick one.
  7. Prepare slips of papers, tell your students to stand up, mingle around and find their partners. You can write anything on the slips of papers. For example, you can ask them to find their partners matching the a)sub clauses with main clauses, b)riddles with their answers, c) problems with the piece of advice, d) synonyms and antonyms, e)words you just studied with their definitions, etc.
  8. If you have a smart board in class, you can go to, click create group, write your students names and team them with the help of the tools.
  9. Choose some photos regarding the number of your class. Divide each photograph into four and put them in a box ask students to pick one piece and find the matching ones to work together.CLIPART_OF_16323_SM_2

Dynamics of the New Classroom

Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.

– Henry Ford


In some parts of the world the classes have just begun and here we still have time to prepare ourselves for the coming year. We all have some tricks to begin the new term, some fun ideas to make students eager to start or motivate the unmotivated. Some of us will teach new classes, some of us will continue with the same students.

We all know that although we teach the same class for many years, each term will have its own dynamics as the individuals will be completely different from each other. Thus the techniques that worked last year may not be useful this year.

In short as a teacher you will have a new group to turn into willing learners. You have to have new tactics to handle the new situation.

If the relationship between you and your new group is good, things will be easier. Maybe it will be a good idea to start with some trust forming activities.

Not only the relationship between you and the class decides the success of the teaching and learning process, but the relationship between the peers will also be a very important factor. The students should learn to trust each other. They should also learn to accept the differences that they have, they should learn to respect each other.

When we consider all these things, we can see that teaching grammar or mathematics is the easiest part of our job. We, as teachers, should find ways to communicate with our students. We should find ways to lead them to become individuals who are well aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

When the classroom is a place where all the students trust and respect each other and when they don’t bully the weaker ones, it will be easier for the teacher to help the students to move one step further.


An activity to teach why we should listen to each other:

Prepare role cards for A and B

On A cards write:

You have just won a scholarship and you are very enthusiastic about it. You know your life will be very different from now on and you want to talk about it with your friend.

On B cards write:

Your friend is very enthusiastic and she wants you to listen to her but don’t listen. Try to distract her, avoid eye contact, interrupt and say something else. Whenever she tries to come to the subject, do something to make your friend understand that you are not interested.

This activity usually works well and student As tell their friends how frustrating it is to see their friends not listening to them,while they are trying to tell something enthusiastically.


A boat doesn’t go forward if each one is rowing their own way.
Swahili proverb

Some sites for ideas:

Drama Games

Kim’s Korner For Teacher Talk

Team Building Activities for Teens

Group Games

Team Building in the classroom

Communication In Class

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.


Well, We all know that if a kid doesn’t like the teacher, he stops learning or if a kid trusts his teacher, he starts to do something for the lesson. Parents also know that sometimes their kids misbehave because they think their parents ignore them. So every act in a class or at home can be a hint for the teacher or the parent to evaluate themselves and change certain things.

Rapport is defined as ‘a good understanding of someone and an ability to communicate well with them’ (Cambridge Dictionary online) Communiaction is a mutual thing. If we move one step further, the other person will need to move too. If we move 2 steps further, he will at least move one step towards us.

As a teacher or a parent, we should find ways to build rapport or establish good communication with the kids.

This shouldn’t mean getting approval or being liked or becoming the most popular teacher in the school. You can be cool, trendy but the relationship between you and your students can be so artificial. A good relaship between you and your students can be the result of certain things which were done to gain confidence. If the student understands the teacher cares for him, he surely will  try to change himself.

How to establish good relationship with your students:


First impressions are important. Even at a workshop, seminar or a performance, we always remember the beginning and the ending. Thus, from the first day you meet your students everything you do counts.

We can keep the followings in mind before we prepare ourselves for our classes:

  • Explain yourself.  Let them know they will have limits- if they know your rules, they will play the game according to the rules.
  • Encourage your students
  • Motivate and support them when needed.
  • Praise them -even we need praise and we feel unhappy when we don’t get it.
  • Be prepared and well-planned (they see the difference very well)
  • Be enthusiastic about teaching- enthusiasm is infectious,
  • Respect them, listen to them- if they understand you regard them as a human-being, they will feel they are also important.
  • Behave each student equally- all of them learn at different speeds and all of them have different learning styles. Read more to learn more.
  • Make eye-contact and learn their names from the very first day of the class.
  • Smile as much as possible, be cheerful and energetic
  • Be creative and enhance their creativity
  • Bring the world to the classroom.
  • Do something enjoyable at any level of the lesson – a warmer, filler or a game…

I’m not a teacher: only a fellow-traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead — ahead of myself as well as you.
 -George Bernard Shaw