In every foreign language class, as teachers well know, there are some problems which occur to varying degrees: not all exercises work as planned, some students are not active enough, the classroom is too hot or too cold, and so on.
These problems are caused by one or more of four components of a class: the students, the teacher, teaching materials, and the classroom. All of them contain a physical element, and with the students and the teacher there are also psychological and social elements. It is often difficult and sometimes impossible to solve physical problems. But psychological and social problems could be solved or avoided; for example, when a student finds the German language very difficult to learn and therefore the class too. One of the "precautions" against such problems might be to establish a cooperative atmosphere in the classroom.
To this end, draws and games were used in two German classes for freshmen in both semesters of 2006 to decide the seat arrangement or a partner for pair work. In addition, the students were surveyed to determine their opinions on the draws and games.
This article reports on the practice and effects of deciding the seat arrangement or partner for pair work in the classroom. Results of the questionnaires show that most of the students have a positive impression of this practice and that the resulting pair work contributed to better cooperation in the classroom.