Gemma Graham

Primary Teacher

Netherton Primary

  • Cooperative Learning

What Happens When ‘Think, Pair, Share’ is Used in the Classroom?


Pupil wellbeing is continually at the forefront of Scottish Education initiatives with close links to inheriting a growth mindset within our pupils. The groups interest within the topic of growth mindset influenced the decision to research the use of think-pair-share in the classroom. Think-pair-share was developed by Frank Lyman in 1981 as a strategy to promote collaborative discussion between pupils. This allows pupils to think independently, discuss their answer with a partner and then share their findings with the rest of the class. Think-pair-share is a useful formative assessment tool (Cooper & Robinson, 2002) which allows teachers to assess pupils understanding of their learning. Think-pair-share also allows pupils extra thinking time to prepare their answer and response (McTighe & Lyman, 1988). This is crucial within my classroom as it provides my pupils with time to use their strategies to solve a number talks question in preparation for sharing their solution with the class. This collaborative learning strategy allows pupils to support one another as they challenge and extend their learning together while motivating one another within their learning journey (Johnson & Johnson, 1999). Cooperative learning has been highlighted as having a positive impact on pupils’ academic achievement and self-esteem (Goodwin, 1999) which closely links to pupils’ confidence within their learning. Therefore, it was agreed that this study would consider the impact of using think-pair-share during number talks lessons on influencing pupil motivation to participate in lessons and their willingness to contribute their answers during whole class discussion. This study also considered if changing the think, pair, share partner each week would have any effect.


The aim of this enquiry was to see the effect think-pair-share has on:

  • Pupil’s motivation and willingness to participate in number talks lessons and classroom discussions in regard to answering out.
  • How effectively pupils interacted and worked when their think-pair-share partner is changed each week and if this had an impact on their willingness and motivation to participate in whole class discussions.

Through this study, the intended aim was to see if pupils who appear less confident and would initially be hesitant to attempt tasks, such as number talks, or answer out with solutions, would be more willing and motivated to take part in these lessons and answer out with solutions during whole class discussions. To carry out this research, think-pair-share was introduced as a strategy for supporting pupils and their learning during number talks lessons.

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