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In Praise of Think-Pair-Share

 

Think-Pair-Share4

 

Think-pair-share has gotten a bad rap. In July of 2013, just as I was starting this blog, I read a snarky piece where the author slammed administrators’ use of the strategy in faculty meetings. The piece got a lot of attention, lots of thumbs-up, but I felt kind of indignant.

Because I LOVE think-pair-share. It’s as flexible and at-the-ready as a 16-year-old gymnast on Red Bull. It’s the first strategy I explain to people who have no teacher training but have found themselves in a position to teach.

I do, however, think there’s a right way and a wrong way to use it. So for the sake of celebrating think-pair-share, the Little Strategy That Could, and to share some best practices with this strategy, I made it the focus of my latest podcast. You can listen, read the transcript, or read the infographic that summarizes it all.

 

Listen Now:

 

iTunes

Transcript

 

Think-Pair-Share-Infographic

 

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Jennifer Gonzalez

Editor-in-Chief at Cult of Pedagogy
Former middle-school language arts teacher and college-level teacher of teachers. NBCT. Mother of 3. All of these experiences have brought me to where I am now: Devoted full-time to helping teachers do their work better.

Latest posts by Jennifer Gonzalez (see all)

Jennifer Gonzalez

Former middle-school language arts teacher and college-level teacher of teachers. NBCT. Mother of 3. All of these experiences have brought me to where I am now: Devoted full-time to helping teachers do their work better.

10 Comments

  1. I love think-pair-share! I think when adults claim not to love it, it is because the group leader has not explained its value. As you explain above, the teacher (group leader; administrator; principal; department chair; “boss”) has to explain the value of the think-pair-share process. Even adults have to be “trained” to cooperate, just like kids! You can’t expect anyone to know what you expectations are until you’ve explained them. It is like giving a test before teaching the material and then complaining about everyone failing.

  2. So just before I posted this, I did a Google search for this strategy and discovered that David Ginsburg over at Education Week Teacher had just done a wonderful post on the same thing not two weeks earlier. His article includes a tip I completely forgot to add here, but feel VERY strongly about: It’s very useful to have students write down their thoughts before they share with a partner. That would make it Think-Write-Pair-Share. Adding this step really helps students process their own thoughts before being influenced by someone else. Click here to read his post on think-pair-share.

  3. Thank you very much madam for these valuable information, I m going to use them for my next classes. They benefit students from bracing the class information, and to switch from the receive-mode to the send-mode.

  4. Thank you! Thank you Jennifer! I’m new to your site, referred my a fellow classmate. I’m teaching my own class for the first time as an adjunct so this information is indispensable.

  5. Thank you for your post. I share this strategy with teaches k-12 and more importantly it is used in all of my PD sessions. I have a hard time going more than 10-15 minutes without having particpants turn and talk, etc. trying to model and practice strategies which I recommend . I would second the big idea of writing down first or at least give 3-5 seconds ( or longer) wait time. A very wise principal brought the ” wait time” to my attention.

  6. I use it with my library classes because we have such limited time with the kids, but we still want to assess what they know and what and how they are thinking and give everybody a chance to participate.

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