This technique encourages cooperative learning by peer interactivity. Teachers should cue the progress from one step to the next. In the primary classroom, hand signals for each step can be developed with the students and these can be used along with verbal cues.
Here are the steps:
- Think - Students listen to a question (this may be an open-ended question to which there are many answers) or a presentation and are given ‘think time’ to formulate their responses.
- Pair - Following the ‘think time’, students work together with a partner, sharing ideas, discussing, clarifying and challenging.
- Share -The pair then share their ideas with another pair, or with the whole class. Students should be prepared to share their partner’s ideas as well as their own.
Tips for using the techniques successfully:
- Allowing students time to think, sometimes referred to as 'wait time' has been shown by researchers to improve the quality of their responses. Talking through ideas with a partner first before sharing them with a wider audience allows for those ideas to be elaborated on and refined.
- When using this activity in the classroom it is not necessary to take feedback from all groups every time. This would be quite time consuming and may not be particularly edifying. Teachers can walk around and listen to the students talking in their pairs and perhaps call on those that they know will have something interesting to contribute. Whilst all students should be given the opportunity to contribute during lessons it is not necessary to give everyone that opportunity in every activity.
Strategy for keeping track of who has contributed during activities/lessons:
By putting a little dot next to the names of the students in the class list for a particular lesson (or the register) you can easily keep track of those students that have been called on during that lesson and incorporate that into your planning.