Getting all your students involved
Have you found that some of your students dominate the conversation when questions are posed to the class, while others stay silent? Or is your class generally very quiet, when you try to engage them by asking questions?
As a teacher, you want to create a class environment where all students can participate and feel engaged. Think-Pair-Share is one easy way to create short, interactive class experiences that include everyone — and don’t take much time.
SAMPLE PROMPT: What do you think were the two most important concepts I just covered about ___?
SAMPLE PROMPT: Take two minutes to make a few notes for yourself.
SAMPLE PROMPT: Turn to the person next to you and compare your responses. Did you both come up with the same opinions, or if were they different? I will give you two minutes.
It is important that you control who gets to answer the question, so that the more talkative students don’t continue to dominate. This also gives you the opportunity to call on pairs that may tend to be quieter. It also gives you the opportunity to check the level of understanding in the moment and to answer any questions that have arisen.
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Why is this strategy useful?
Posing questions like this throughout your lecture or demo will increase the level of engagement of your students — and it doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes at a time. This approach also changes the dynamic in your class away from a “teacher centered model” (in which teacher is doing all of the talking and students are passive) to one in which students are more actively engaged.
Think / Pair / Share also makes it easier for timid students and English-language-learners to participate, because it gives them time to gather their thoughts (and their words) before speaking. And by asking students first to share with a partner, you allow them a chance to practice articulating their ideas before speaking to the entire class.
You will notice that as students talk together in pairs, the overall energy of the class increases, because they are collaborating with one another. This strategy also builds confidence and a sense of social connection, as well as deeper learning.