Natalie Erskine

Physical Education

St. Ambrose High

  • Assessment For Learning

What Happens When Think-Pair-Share is Introduced to the Classroom?


Blooms Taxonomy (Bloom, et al., 1956) (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001) is often used in education to determine the cognitive complexity of questioning techniques. There are 6 categories within the revised hierarchy, the lower levels are said to be lower-order thinking questions and the upper are higher-order thinking. The lower-order thinking skills relates to being able to recite or recall information from memory, usually from information provided throughout a lesson. Most teachers are encouraged to use higher-order questioning to improve cognitive skills however a recent study suggested a mix of questions should be asked at appropriate times as all cognitive domains should be actively worked (Tofade, et al., 2013).

Classroom participation is encouraged within the new Curriculum for Excellence as it advocates meeting the needs of all learners and using AifL, which uses formative assessment as a key teaching tool. This then puts emphasis on children being active learners and taking control of their own learning (Harrison, 2009).

Many studies have looked at the significant factors which deters students from answering in classes. Wilson (1999) studies the patterns between low and high achievers and identified the key factors as being uncertain of the answer therefore scared of being teased by peers or being embarrassed, lack of enjoyment for the subject and just not wanting to be involved in any discussion. The research often suggests those who answer repeatedly in class are defined as ‘successful learners’, however those not answering aloud may fully understand the question and also be ‘successful learners’ but are less confident in their own ability (Patrick & Turner, 2004).


Discussion and response to questions give a huge insight into the knowledge a student has about a topic and can be very beneficial for a teacher as it allows them to tailor to each students’ needs (Sampsel, 2013). The overall purpose of this study is to look at what happens when a questioning method which allows time to discuss with a partner, is introduce into the classroom. The reason I have chosen this topic is because many students lack the confidence to answer questions in class and I would like to determine whether having the time to discuss the question would positively impact the quality of responses and the willingness to engage.

For this to be seen, I focussed particularly on an S2 mixed gender and ability class, over a period of 4 weeks. The main questioning technique I have chosen to focus on is Think, Pair, Share. I have chosen to use this method when asking higher-order thinking questions during a lesson.

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