Collaborative Learning

Think-Pair-Share

    
  
 

Think-pair-share is a relatively low-risk and short collaborative learning structure, and is ideally suited for instructors and learners who are new to collaborative learning.

In think-pair-share, the instructor poses a challenging or open-ended question and gives learners one minute to think about the question. Learners then pair with a collaborative group member or neighbor sitting nearby and discuss their ideas about the question for several minutes.

The think-pair-share structure gives all learners the opportunity to discuss their ideas. This is important because learners start to construct their knowledge in these discussions and also to find out what they do and do not know. This active process is not normally available to them during traditional lectures.

After several minutes the instructor solicits comments to be shared with the whole group. The responses received are often more intellectually concise since learners have had a chance to reflect on their ideas. The think-pair-share structure also enhances the student's oral communication skills as they discuss their ideas with the one another and with the whole group.

One variation of this structure is to skip the whole-group discussion. Another variation is to have learners write down their thoughts on notecards and collect them. This gives the instructor an opportunity to see whether there are problems in comprehension.


Lymna, F. (1981). "The responsive classroom discussion." In Anderson, A. S. (Ed.), Mainstreaming Digest, College Park, MD: University of Maryland College of Education.

 
 
 Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org
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