This classroom based practitioner enquiry was designed and implemented in order to observe and evaluate what would happen when Think, Pair, Share (TPS) – a valuable means of formative assessment – was introduced in the classroom. The General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS) argue that engaging with the practitioner enquiry process can enhance critical reflection on practice which can bring about transformative change (GTCS, 2015). Additionally, for the children involved, collaborative professional enquiry can have many benefits such as better learning experiences, better attitudes towards learning and increased levels of confidence (Carroll, 2011).
During my probation year as a primary teacher, I have observed that a considerable barrier to learning for some of the pupils in my class has been not having enough confidence to participate and share their ideas regularly during lessons. Having previously carried out research on the effects of using co-operative learning in classrooms and after experimenting with various approaches, including TPS, I discovered that there were many positive outcomes associated with the use of co-operative learning strategies. Co-operative learning can be used to encourage positive interdependence as well as individual accountability (Johnson et al, 2008). It can also help pupils to build positive relationships with each other and develop important social skills. Finally, in relation solely to the use of TPS, it is a strategy which inherently increases wait time, giving pupils more time to think (McTighe & Lyman, 1988). This has been shown to get more students involved in discussion and improve the quality of student responses (Rowe, 1972). A 2013 study carried out at Bowling Green State University supports these assumptions and concludes that as a result of TPS “students’ participation increased, the number of long explanations given by students increased, and students comfort and confidence when contributing to class discussion also increased” (Sampsel, 2013).
The aim of this enquiry was to evaluate the impact that the use of Think Pair Share had upon pupil learning in the classroom in order to answer the following questions:
- How will the use of Think, Pair, Share affect pupil enjoyment?
- How will the use of Think, Pair, Share affect pupil engagement?
- How will the use of Think, Pair, Share affect pupil confidence?
- Does the way in which pupils are paired up to take part in Think, Pair, Share have an impact on enjoyment, engagement and confidence?