The #1 …. (“social” technique )

Number One** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1.

Inside – Outside

I’ve seen classrooms literally transformed when teachers start using this technique in their classrooms!
What it does, is allow students to work with others in the class that they might never have a chance to. It is egalitarian and quick paced. Students love it and learn from it.
inside outside2

What is it?

Basically, put students into two circles – one inside, one outside. However, most classrooms don’t have the room for this , so I just get students in two lines. On the “bell” or signal from the teacher, students practice with the partner facing them. It can be homework, an exercise from the textbook, a dialog, a survey question, an interview – almost anything you’d normally do traditionally at a boring desk.

On the next signal, one line/circle rotates and then continues to practice with a new partner. Keep rotating as needed and enjoy your coffee!

It really is a special “communicative” technique perfect for language learning/teaching. Kagan – the guru of collaborative learning really divined a good one when he started promoting this!
inside outside2

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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5 Responses

  1. Used this type of approach with two big circles too… up to 50 students at once, snaking around the room changing partners one by one.

    JOB FAIR Lesson

    Outside 20 people are bosses and interview for predetermined positions (10 m time ins b4to prepare vocation specific questions)

    Inside folks are looking for their dream job (and write a fake resume with their dream skills)

    I’ve never seen a more active EFL classroom, and one with very little need of a ‘teacher’ and yet soooo much active learning going on.


  2. ddeubel says:


    Yeah, I’ve seen it done with interviews before also. When I’ve done this with teachers during training, many of them refer to it as “speed dating” teaching. Hoever, you don’t necessarily have to keep it quick – depends on the students. I just really like that it allows students to work / interact with others they normally wouldn’t. A great class atmosphere builder!

  3. It certainly does create atmosphere!

    Good luck w the book. I keep seeing ‘just bought’ on twitter. cheers, b

  4. T Bestwick says:

    I’ve used it both in the classroom and with staff as a getting to know you activity at a summer camp. It’s a great way to make students communicate and they tend not to drift into L1. I find it’s also useful for doing pairwork activities when there are “awkward” students in the class, as it means one person isn’t “stuck” with them the whole time.

  5. ddeubel says:

    Thanks Brad. Not something that will overnight be a sensation. Counting on teachers to share through word of mouth and if a few get sold every week, I’ll be happy. Once I make my return back, I’ll put it for up for the community. But that will take a while. Slow but sure…

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