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Classroom Strategies



Think-Pair-Share (TPS) is a collaborative learning strategy in which students work together to solve a problem or answer a question about an assigned reading. This technique requires students to (1) think individually about a topic or answer to a question; and (2) share ideas with classmates. Discussing an answer with a partner serves to maximize participation, focus attention and engage students in comprehending the reading material. 


The Think-Pair-Share strategy is a versatile and simple technique for improving students’ reading comprehension. It gives students time to think about an answer and activates prior knowledge. TPS enhances students’ oral communication skills as they discuss their ideas with one another. This strategy helps students become active participants in learning and can include writing as a way of organizing thoughts generated from discussions.

Create and use the strategy

The teacher decides upon the text to be read and develops the set of questions or prompts that target key content concepts. The teacher then describes the purpose of the strategy and provides guidelines for discussions. As with all strategy instruction, teachers should model the procedure to ensure that students understand how to use the strategy. Teachers should monitor and support students as they work. 

  1. : (Think) Teachers begin by asking a specific question about the text. Students “think” about what they know or have learned about the topic. 
  2. : (Pair) Each student should be paired with another student or a small group. 
  3. : (Share) Students share their thinking with their partner. Teachers expand the “share” into a whole-class discussion. 


Teachers can modify this strategy and include various writing components within the Think-Pair-Share strategy. This provides teachers with the opportunity to see whether there are problems in comprehension. Teachers can create a Read-Write-Pair-Share strategy in which students:

  1. R: Read the assigned material; 
  2. W: Write down their thoughts about the topic prior to the discussions;
  3. P: Pair up with a partner
  4. S: Share their ideas with a partner and/or the whole class. 

Further reading

Research Citations

Gunter, M. A., Estes, T. H., & Schwab, J. H. (1999). Instruction: A Models Approach, 3rd edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 

Lyman, F. (1981). “The responsive classroom discussion.” In Anderson, A. S. (Ed.), Mainstreaming Digest. College Park, MD: University of Maryland College of Education.

Millis, B. J., & Cottell, P. G., Jr. (1998). Cooperative learning for higher education faculty, American Council on Education, Series on Higher Education. The Oryx Press: Phoenix, AZ.