Think-Pair-Share Overview

Think-Pair-Share is a short activity designed to engage students in thoughtful consideration of a topic, and may serve effectively as a warm-up to instruction and class discussion on new course material. 

First, students individually think for a few minutes about a question posed by the instructor, then get together for a short period in groups of two (pair) to four students to discuss their thoughts, and one or more groups share the results of their discussion with the class.  In addition to engaging with course content, students can reflect before speaking, and share their ideas in a low-risk situation before participating in full class discussion.  Thus, both the quality of class discussion and students’ comfort in contributing to class discussion may improve.

Think-Pair-Share also allows instructors to assess students’ initial knowledge and to modify instruction to bolster understanding and clear up misconceptions.  Developed for use in class, this technique is just beginning to be adapted and experimented with in the online environment.

See Also

Barkley, E.F., Cross, K.P., & Major, C.H. (2005). Collaborative learning techniques.  A handbook for college faculty.   San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.   Wiley. Kindle Edition.

"On the Cutting Edge" on Think-Pair-Share