A language classroom should be fun!
This is accomplished by usually, adding lots of variety to the class activities. This variety includes grouping students. Whether we have a large class or a small one, individual, pair and group work is done.
The way we group our students together and the way they communicate to each other within that group or in open class is called Interaction Patterns.
When we write our lesson plans, we plan a column for interaction patterns:
Ss → Ss (students to students(groupwork))
Ss → T (students to teacher (feedback))
T→Ss (Whole class)
When grouping students, teachers need to take into account their learning styles (see unit 13), needs, personalities, level and age. Since teachers know their students, teachers know who should work with whom. Teachers need to consider the aim and the personalities of the students as well. For example, there is always a dominant one. Should we have him work with a less talkative one?
Grouping students also depends on the class size. With classes with more than 30 learners, pair and group work is possible, but it requires more careful planning
Look at this glossary of terms for lesson planning.
If you are currently teaching, try out different groupings and interaction patterns. Analyse the results later.