8th June 2007 at 01:00
I have been told that two pupils in my class 'do not get on' and should not be seated together. Should I obey, or does this just make things worse? Wouldn't it be better to work at helping them get along?

Mark, Cardiff

A I have a similar situation in my class. Initially, I sat the two pupils apart and got to the root of the problem of why they seem to dislike each other. Using this information, I have gradually integrated them into groups that work together and have adult supervision. It was a challenge, and still is at times, but children can bring out the best in each other if someone has taken the time to explain the advantages of learning with others. It is a gradual process and it takes a lot of perseverance and belief it can work. At the end of the day, school should be a learning community where all children can work with each other. Joanna, West Midlands

A I would keep the two children separated. Certain personalities clash and trying to force them to work together could create more tension in the classroom than keeping them apart.Cindy, Lancashire A If you do seat them next to each other and you see evidence of them "not getting along", then you will deal with the situation in a way you deem appropriate. Whether you want to work on helping them to get along, or you prefer to seat them apart, the decision should be made by you and you alone - and you should not be in a position where you feel you have to "obey"

anyone. Jenny, Kent

A Expect fireworks if you sit them together. If experienced staff separate these pupils, it must be for a reason. You may disrupt the learning of the rest of the class as a result of your desire to build bridges. A long-term solution might be to sit them apart but involve them in activities which encourage co-operation, and stress positive values and harmony in your teaching

Anne, Tunbridge Wells

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