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Classroom Mingle

This discussion technique allows learners to actively engage with new content by moving around the classroom, asking and answering questions with multiple members of the class. Afterwards, there is an opportunity for group review and reflection. 

How to use

1. Prepare

Write a list of open-ended questions or problems based on a unit of study. Cut the paper into strips, with one question per strip, so that you have at least one question per student.

2. Introduce

Display the list of questions to explain the activity. Before passing out a question to each student, model the way students will mingle with volunteers. 

3. Distribute

Hand a strip of paper to each student and ask all students to stand up and find a partner.

4. Mingle

Working in their pairs, Student A asks Student B his/her question. After answering, Student B asks Student A his/her question.  Next, they exchange strips of paper, and each one finds another member of the class who is also looking for a new partner. The process is repeated.

To create a more structured mingle, the teacher can monitor the time for each interaction. After a set amount of time to share questions in pairs, music can be played. Students should move around the classroom. When the music stops, students find a new partner standing near them.

5. Close

Ask students to take a seat after the time allotted. Lead an open discussion about the questions and answers.

When to use

Use Classroom Mingle at any point in the lesson to structure meaningful conversation:

  • Before introducing new material to tap into prior knowledge
  • In the beginning of the school year to allow students to meet each other
  • After watching a film clip to gauge a reaction
  • After reading a short text to begin a discussion
  • In an ESL or foreign language classroom to practice questions and answers
  • After a unit of instruction to serve as a review


Student-Created Classroom Mingle

To work on students’ questioning skills and/or help them review content in depth, have students create their own questions on strips of paper or index cards.

Structured Mingle

Prepare a list of discussion topics or questions ahead of time. After students find a partner in the first round of mingling, they should freeze and listen to one topic or question the you pose. All pairs answer the same question. Then, after students mingle to find another partner, a new topic or question is posed. Do as many mingle rounds as you have questions or topics.

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