Think-pair-share is a cooperative pair instructional strategy. Students are given a question or task and they must first think about it individually, then turn to their neighbour or “elbow partner” to discuss, and finally share their responses with the larger group.

The think-pair-share strategy could be used in a variety of lessons for any subject. The purpose is to involve all the students during a lesson and minimize teacher talk time. For example, the teacher might ask:

  • “What do you already know about…?”
  • “What do you think might happen if…?”
  • “Why do you think __ didn’t work?”
  • “Do you agree with…?”


I used this strategy repeatedly throughout my practicum as it gives students the time they need to process their thoughts before having to discuss the question or task with a classmate or the teacher. It reduces the pressure on individual students to answer questions as they are given the time to confer with a classmate and listen to a potentially different point of view before sharing their response with the class. We would often use it during the activation portion of the lesson to discuss how a math strategy might be used, or predict what might happen in a story, for example.

Ottawa Board of Education. “Think-Pair-Share.” Teaching Practices for ESD Classes. (PED3154 Course Notes)

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