Faculty Evaluation and Coaching Department
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Think-Pair-Share is a quick and easy technique for increasing participation during class discussions, lecture and demos. Your students may stay silent during class discussions for a variety of reasons: shyness, low confidence in spoken English, fear of looking uncool in front of their peers or simply because they haven’t been given enough time to prepare their thoughts. Use Think-Pair-Share to engage the entire class, not only the articulate few.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Pose a question to the entire class. 
  2. Allow 2-3 minutes for students to think and/or write notes in response to the question. 
  3. Then ask students to pair up and compare their answers for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Finally, ask specific pairs to share their main ideas with the whole class. 
  5. Review and/or clarify information or concepts, if necessary.

Think-Pair-Share gives students an opportunity to rehearse their answers with each other before speaking in front of the class.

Think-Pair-Share allows time for students to interpret the question, gather their thoughts, and find the necessary vocabulary. The extra time is especially important for non-native speakers of English and native speakers who are unfamiliar with the specialized language of the course.

Think-Pair-Share allows the instructor gauge the class’s level by walking around the classroom to peek at students’ notes and listen in on the pair conversations.

Affinity mapping is a variation to Think-Pair-Share. After you pose a question or problem to the class, have students write notes on small pieces of paper in response — one thought per slip of paper. Then ask students to work in pairs to silently sort the pieces of paper into categories. In part three, students discuss their categories and why they arranged the ideas the way they did. Finally, the teacher calls the whole class together to compare answers and sorting strategies.