24 April 2024

Think-Pair-Share is an easy, yet effective, active learning strategy to help students engage with the content and their peers.

Think-Pair-Share is a strategy designed to provide students with “food for thought” on a topic enabling them to formulate individual ideas and share these ideas with another student. Rather than using Call and Respond, where a teacher poses a question and one student offers a response, Think-Pair-Share encourages a high degree of student response and interaction. This can help keep students on task and engaged in the class session. Think-Pair-Share is easy to use without much prior planning and can be used in both large and small classes.

Providing “think time” increases the quality of student responses. Students become actively involved in thinking about the concepts presented in the class session. Students need time to mentally “chew over” new ideas to store them in memory. When teachers present too much information all at once, much of that information is lost. If we give students time to “Think-Pair-Share” throughout the class session, more of the critical information is retained. When students talk over new ideas, they are forced to make sense of those new ideas in terms of their prior knowledge. Their misunderstandings about the topic are often revealed (and resolved) during this discussion stage. Students become more willing to participate in discussions since they do not feel the peer pressure involved in responding in front of the whole class. 

How can I use Think-Pair-Share?
  • Announce a discussion topic or problem to solve.
  • Give students at least 10 seconds of “think time” to THINK of their own answer. Research shows that the quality of student responses goes up significantly when you allow “think time”.
  • Announce discussion partners. For example, turn to the person on your right.
  • Ask students to PAIR with their partner to discuss the topic or solution.
  • Finally, randomly call on a few pairs to SHARE their ideas with the class. You could also ask each pair to share with another pair.
  • Teachers may also ask students to write or draw a diagram with their responses while doing the Think-Pair-Share activity.

Think-Pair-Share helps students develop conceptual understanding of a topic, develop the ability to filter information and draw conclusions, and develop the ability to consider other points of view.

Contact Teaching Quality ( for further guidance on this and other active learning strategies.