Teachers are always in search of suitable classroom techniques which will foster student cooperation and engagement. This issue is especially of great importance when we deal with teenagers or kids. A well-known technique “think, pair, share” is a valuable learning strategy where students work together to find the answer to a question or the solution to a problem or challenge. Each of them individually begins by thinking about the topic and formulating their ideas. Then they pair up with another student who has been thinking on the same topic. Together they share their ideas and discuss the topic in more depth. The sharing process can expand to a classroom discussion.

Benefits of the Technique

  • One of the most widespread classroom issues that teachers encounter is the timid students who lack confidence while talking or they might need more preparation time in order to express their thoughts properly. So, the given technique will create miracles for these students. They are given the chance to think over the topic and take the necessary preparation time.
  • Full engagement into the task is another vital aspect of this technique. When students are more involved in the task, the learning is more fruitful and purposeful.
  • Learners become better communicators as they need to communicate their thoughts to their partners as effectively as possible. For this purpose, they need to use some functional language which can be pre-taught to ensure a more elaborated communication process.  
  • To fulfil this task, students need to be better listeners as well since they have to listen to their peers carefully so that they can come up with their ideas. This twofold communicative process is a vital skill for the 21st century.
  • It helps build a learner’s confidence, especially of a child who is sometimes less willing to speak in front of a larger group. When a ‘think, pair, share’ activity is arranged well, even the most reluctant speakers can discover that they can express themselves coherently, be understood and have their ideas and opinions valued.

Think, pair, share can be used at any point of a lesson and with most classroom materials. Hereby, we will present some classroom activities which can be carried out following the given technique.

  1. Post-reading/listening activity: When students do a reading or listening activity, they can discuss post-activity comprehension questions following Think, pair, share technique. Imagine, the studied material is about travelling. After covering the material students may be given some questions on the topic with an age-appropriate level of language, e.g.:
  • Why do people travel?
  • Do you think tourism will harm the Earth? How?
  • Which country would you like o visit? Why?
  • What can a tourist do in your country?

The teacher makes sure that students have understood the questions and sets the time to think them over. Usually, 2-3 minutes will be quite enough for the thinking stage. After this stage, the teacher pairs the students up and they share their thoughts. As they had enough time to formulate their ideas while pairing up and sharing, they are likely to be more confident. When they finish, they can discuss the questions open class more freely.

  1. Writing practice: Writing is one of the skills which needs quite a lot of preparation time and demands full learners’ engagement. Think, pair, share technique can help the teacher to have a productive writing lesson. Students are given the writing topic, they think it over and jot down any ideas that come to their mind. Afterwards, they pair up and compare their thoughts. They are given certain time to come up with a piece of writing on the given topic. While writing in pairs, they need to communicate with each other, decide which ideas to involve in the piece of writing, how to formulate them. When they finish, the teacher collects the writings and stick them on different parts of the wall. Students move around the room in new pairs and evaluate the writings following a grading rubric or criteria given by the teacher. In the end, they choose the best writing and explain their choice.
  2. Visual literacy activities: Activities aimed at developing the students’ visual literacy skills can be easily carried out in the format of Think, pair, share technique. Students are provided with the pictures, they individually think over some questions given by the teacher. They pair up, share their ideas and try to find commonalities. This technique can work on all levels of visual literacy analysis.

Taking into account all the above-mentioned benefits that the Think, pair, share technique has and the fact that it can be used with any classroom material, for developing any language skill and at any part of the lesson, we are sure that this technique will greatly boost collaborative and fun learning in the classroom.

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