What happens when ‘Think, Pair, Share’ is used to improve engagement and challenge all pupils to think?
This enquiry focused on the impact that Think, Pair, Share (TPS) had on the engagement of pupils and the possibility of it challenging all pupils to take additional time to think before answering questions. I wanted to enquire into whether my adapting my pedagogical approach could improve the engagement of a particular group of pupils. Although I was interested in the impact of this intervention on all pupils, I had identified a sub-group of pupils who regularly seem disengaged from participating in class discussions and were apprehensive about voicing their opinions, ideas, thoughts or asking questions. I wanted to ascertain whether this would improve after the introduction of the Cooperative Learning ‘Think, Pair, Share’ (TPS) questioning strategy. Secondly, the benefits of implementing cooperative learning strategies in practice has been widely noted (Johnson & Johnson, 1999).
Furthermore, implementing a practitioner enquiry in my fourth year of university allowed me to really make a difference in the teaching and learning in the classroom in which I was based. I wanted to have this similar transformation in practice this year in order to continue my own, and my pupils’, learning and development; Sachs (1991) argues:
‘…teacher research has the potential to act as a significant source of teacher and academic professional renewal and development because learning stands at the core of this renewal through the production and circulation of new knowledge about practice’. (Sachs 1991: 41, cited in Campbell et al., 2004: 13)
Additionally, it has been argued that engaging with practitioner enquiry process can enhance critical reflection on practice which can bring about ‘transformative change’ (GTCS, 2015: online). It is also
suggested that ‘teachers who engage in research have a better understanding of their practice and ways to improve it’ (McLaughlin et al. 2004; cited in GTCS, 2015: online).
The aim of this enquiry was to identify whether or not there would be an improvement in the engagement of pupils when using Think-Pair-Share. The purpose of this enquiry was to:
- Highlight whether or not Think-Pair-Share would increase the participation of a group of previously identified pupils in discussions/volunteering answers.
- Observe whether using Think-Pair-Share would challenge all pupils to think and be able to give an answer.
Throughout the enquiry the impact that TPS had on challenging all pupils to make use of thinking time was also explored. The enquiry therefore aimed to determine the impact of using TPS on challenging all learners to think and increase the participation of an identified group pupils in class discussions.