Using Pair and Group Interaction to Foster Students’ Interpersonal Skills

Abstract

The main aim of my action research was to introduce pair and group interaction activities, and thus to help students develop their interpersonal skills. I also aimed to increase the use of child-centred activities where the students are the main focus in the classroom. During my teaching practice placement experiences in schools in the UAE over four years, I have observed that most of the English language classes are teacher-centred. The students in such classes are passive learners who hardly participate in the lesson. I have noticed that teachers rarely use pair and group activities in the classroom, which means that the students work individually most of the time. On the few occasions where teachers introduce pair or group activities, as I observed, the students show a lack of understanding of the necessary interpersonal skills, such as turn taking.

This action research project was carried out during my internship in a class of twenty two Grade Two students in a large primary girls’ school government school in Sharjah. Like all government schools in the UAE, Arabic is the medium of instruction, and English is taught as a class subject. In the classrooms, students are seated in rows and there is hardly any interaction among the students during classes.

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