Letting students decide whether to work in pairs or individually in class

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Juan Carlos Araujo Portugal


Communicative approaches to language teaching have advocated for the benefits of pair and group work when learning foreign languages. This paper reports an example of classroom research that has been carried out with intermediate students of English, level B1+, focusing on how they prefer to work in class as regards grammar and vocabulary exercises when given the chance to choose. In order to obtain the results for this classroom research study, the students’ teacher becomes a participant observer who records the data throughout the course and collects the data on observation worksheets. Contrary to what it might be expected, the outcomes show that many of the younger students prefer working on their own and then compare and justify their answers with their partners, rather than working in pairs from the very beginning. This is recommended to establish whether this is just specific of these students, or it is something common with other students and teachers have been unaware of it.


Keywords: Classroom research, individual work, learning gains, learning preferences, pair work, personal decision.


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How to Cite
Araujo Portugal, J. C. (2021). Letting students decide whether to work in pairs or individually in class. Global Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 11(3), 174–187. https://doi.org/10.18844/gjflt.v11i3.4977