Mix it up: Creative strategies to get students into talking pairs in the university classroom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


In recent years, ‘the field of higher education ha[s] become increasingly interested in assessing traditional instruction practices (e.g., lectures) and modifying them towards more student-centred and active instructional approaches’ (Kozanitis and Nenciovici 2022: 1). Innovations in practice such as talking pairs are being embraced by instructors to advance their pedagogy and engage students more deeply in their learning. This report focuses its attention on the partners students talk to, the concern being that the quality of learning is affected if these are not changed regularly. To positively address this, a suite of creative strategies is offered to help instructors get students into talking pairs. By mixing it up, instructors can effectively support the improved capabilities, attainment and learning of students in the university classroom.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalLearning and Teaching: the International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Simon Brownhill is a Senior Lecturer of Education (Teaching and Learning) at the School of Education, University of Bristol. Specialising in pedagogy, he teaches on the MSc Education programme and supervises doctoral students (EdD and PhD). His varied research and writing interests include supporting and training adult learners, children’s writing (fiction and non-fiction), effective behaviour management in the classroom (3-11), men who work in the Early Years (0-8), self-reflection, and creative assessment. He is co-author of the award-winning book ‘Men in Early Years Settings: Building a Mixed Gender Workforce’ (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019).


  • Creative strategies
  • organisational ideas
  • paired talk
  • tertiary students
  • university classroom


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