Saturday, March 30, 2013

Teaching tip: Think-pair-share

Think-pair-share's a teaching strategy I first heard of while student teaching in Milwaukee. My co-teacher mentioned it in a meeting. It's a simple idea that can be used in any classroom at any time and it ties into my earlier post about wait times. I found it works quite well for foreign languages because the students will need time to translate their Korean thoughts or think in English. Talking to another student helps because the students can share their responses and possibly formulate a newer, better one.  

I use think-pair-share every day and have seen it work well. Students will translate for each other, suggest new words/phrases, and correct each other’s spelling before they speak. Many times, a stronger student will help a weaker one or a more outgoing student will help a quieter one. 

You can implement it right now by asking a question and telling the students they have 10-15 seconds to discuss the question with their neighbor before you take answers.

It may take a couple of attempts, but they'll get it. Many students are not accustomed to answering questions on request and will probably stay silent. This happens because they're afraid of not saying the "right" answer or of getting the grammar wrong. I ran into this during my first few months in Gimhwa, by it rarely happens now because the students know that mistakes are okay and that there are many "right" answers in English. 

Have a good time with this one!

The technical information's below:

PURPOSEProcessing information, communication, developing thinking.RELEVANT SKILLSSharing information, listening, asking questions, summarising others’ ideas, paraphrasing.STEPS
  1. Teacher poses a problem or asks an open-ended question to which there may be a variety of answers.
  1. Teacher gives the students ‘think time’ and directs them to think about the question.
  1. Following the ‘think time’ students turn to face their Learning Partner and work together, sharing ideas, discussing, clarifying and challenging.
  1. The pair then share their ideas with another pair, or with the whole class. It is important that students need to be able to share their partner’s ideas as well as their own.


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