What happens when ‘Think, Pair, Share’ is used to improve engagement and challenge all pupils to think?
As educational professionals, it is our goal to deliver the best learning and teaching experiences possible within the classroom. As a group, we have noticed that pupils can sometimes become disengaged during questioning within lessons when they are not actively participating in the discussion. We were interested in how we could improve engagement within our own classrooms, and we decided that using a Cooperative Learning strategy, such as ‘Think, Pair, Share’ (TPS), would be an effective way to increase motivation by challenging all pupils to think. Cooperative Learning involves students working in small groups towards a common goal in order to increase their own and other students’ understanding (Johnson & Johnson, 1999). TPS is a Cooperative Learning strategy that challenges pupils by allowing them time for independent thinking, time for sharing with a partner and time for sharing back to the class as a whole (Carss, 2007). It has also been argued that, “in order to ‘grow’, a complex thought system requires a great deal of shared experience and conversation” (Rowe, 1986: 43). In their studies, Yeager and Dweck also found that “good strategies, and help from others, help students to become more resilient when they encounter rigorous learning opportunities presented to them” (Yeager & Dweck, 2012: 306). Therefore, the focus of this enquiry is to assess these claims and analyse the effects of using TPS in the classroom, as a way of improving learner engagement and independent thinking.
The aim of this enquiry was to analyse the impact of TPS on pupil engagement and assess if the findings of the enquiry support or challenge the use of TPS in the classroom. This was to
be achieved by implementing TPS and monitoring the quantity and quality of responses over a period of time.