Kieran Hart

Primary Teacher

Townhead Primary

  • Assessment For Learning

The Use of “Thinking Time” in the Classroom


A strategy identified as promising within research literature in using questioning to enhance student achievement, is the think, pair, share method (Sampsel, 2013). Sampsel (2013) found that allowing adequate thinking time for students in response to Mathematics word problems, and subsequent discussion with peers, enhanced student achievement significantly for low and normative achievers within the classroom. Kwok and Lau (2014) have replicated these results in a Hong Kong primary school, giving limited credibility to the validity and reliability factors applicable from the idea. Nevertheless, the research evidence of think, pair, share as a method for raising student achievement still lacks in two key ways; the most appropriate quantity of time given to students to think about a problem posed, and the typology of the questions used by the practitioner in regard to the cognitive demands on students of the question (Lee, 2015).


This enquiry had two key aims. Primarily, this research would focus on the quantity of time given for less able students to respond to a Mathematical word problem, including time for peer collaboration using the think, pair, share model. Secondly, this enquiry will explore the use of three levels of question for a Mathematical word problem using Bloom’s categories of thinking in order to try and improve the skill and confidence of less able pupils in reading and understanding word problems within numeracy and mathematics as well as challenging the more able pupils to avoid disengagement with the task.

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