Pair work is a classroom activity in which the whole class is divided into pairs. Because the point of pair work is to get students speaking and listening, the content of a pair work session should be mainly oral. It is difficult to give instructions once a pair-work session is underway, so the activity should be well planned and carefully explained. Otherwise it is likely to be unproductive. The idea of pair work is to improve listening and speaking skills by requiring students to exchange information with each other. Pair work should always be accompanied by some sort of ‘test’ to ascertain whether or not information really has been exchanged. In some kinds of pair work, split dictations for example, the test is built in to the activity itself. In other cases, it will be a follow-up activity of some sort. Like classroom work with larger groups, pair work has two important advantages: it offers intensive, realistic practice in speaking and listening; and it promotes a friendly classroom ambiance that is conducive to learning. But beyond that, pair work has another important advantage that activities done with larger groups do not have. Pair work is a way of getting everyone in a classroom speaking and listening at the same time. In other words, it is an efficient, productive way of spending precious classroom time.
Pair Work Example