Ceri Patterson

Primary Teacher

Townhead Primary

  • Cooperative Learning

Using ‘Think, Pair, Share’ in the Classroom


Lyman (1981) proposes that using Think-Pair-Share increases student participation, and engages them in higher levels of thinking and questioning. By using the three-stage approach, children have the opportunity to engage in thinking time, to share their own ideas, and to listen attentively to their partner’s ideas. This is supported by the social-constructivist theory that asserts learning is best constructed socially, by allowing children to work through their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and benefitting from a More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) (Vygotsky, 1978). If done carefully, Think-Pair-Share can ensure all children have the opportunity to play the role of the MKO, potentially increasing confidence and promoting participation.

By giving time to think and discuss, the teacher can circulate the classroom listening to the children’s discussions as a method of formative assessment. Black and William (1998) discuss how improved formative assessment is especially helpful for pupils who require support, raising achievement for all. This enquiry couples cooperative learning and formative assessment to promote confidence and participation, with the anticipation of leading to improved outcomes.


This research was conducted in order to determine the effectiveness of Think-Pair-Share in encouraging reluctant learners to share their ideas with their class.

Download Practitioner Enquiry