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Facilitating Think/Pair/Share active learning activities in a classroom
Time and Effort
|Instructor Prep Time||Low|
|Student Activity Time||Low|
|Instructor Response Time||Low|
|Complexity of Activity||Low|
Think/Pair/Share poses a question, asks students to reflect on the question, and has them share their ideas with others. Think has students reflect on their responses to the question before speaking to organize their thoughts. Pair and Share ask students to compare and contrast their thoughts with a small group (often a single partner) and rehearse their responses before sharing with a larger group or whole class.|
Use it when you want...
- To create an opportunity for students to listen to and practice comments with a peer,
- To increases students’ willingness and readiness to speak in a larger group,
- To improve the quality of students’ contributions, or
- To engage students in a warm-up activity before a whole-class discussion.
What students will need
- No special requirements for this approach.
The following workflow is meant as guidance for how you can facilitate a Think/Pair/Share active learning activity within a classroom.
- Identify an engaging question or problem that has many potential responses. Try responding to the question yourself.
- Decide how you are going to present the question (e.g., verbally, worksheet, presentation slide, or whiteboard) and how or if students will report results out to the whole class.
- The instructor poses the question to the class. Gives students time to think and often write about the question and devise individual responses.
- Student A is asked to share his/her responses with Student B. Student B shares his/her ideas with Student A. If the two students disagree, they clarify their positions so they are ready to explain their differences.
- In some cases, each pair of students creates a joint response by building on each other’s ideas.
- The instructor reviews and synthesizes the results — drawing conclusions from the activity or using results to guide another activity in response.
- The instructor or students review the outcomes of the activity and post a response.
Accessibility and Room Considerations
- The wearing of masks by students (particularly in large lecture halls) may make it difficult for students to hear one another when they are asked to speak. All classrooms that are large enough to normally require a microphone already have a microphone system with a communal clip-on pickup element. Further information about the availability of additional clip-on or headset microphone elements will be coming soon. View the instructions and short videos below to assist with the use of the microphones and the portable systems:
Barkley, Elizabeth F. et al. Collaborative Learning Techniques: A Handbook For College Faculty. Wiley, 2014. pp. 153-158.