No More “Think, Pair Share”!

Pic 1Thoughtful teachers don’t ask students to “Think Pair Share”!

OK, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but stay with me on this one. I really do believe that there’s a very good reason for not asking students to “Think, Pair, Share” and I’ve got a more powerful alternative for you.

A while back I wrote a blog titled “Don’t Say Think!” In it I talk about how the word “Think” is a vague term, one that lacks clarity and precision and how students are likely to engage in many different forms of “Thinking” when directed to simply “think”  It’s a term that encompasses many other, more specific, terms. And it’s these terms I believe we should be using when we ask students to “Think, Pair Share”

So for example, we might ask students to:

  • Summarize, pair share
  • Question, pair, share
  • Evaluate, pair, share
  • Solve, pair, share
  • Generate an opinion, pair share
  • Paraphrase, pair, share
  • Predict, pair share
  • etc

I imagine  you get my point. When we ask students to simply “think”, we are being vague. By focusing our instructions and changing the word “Think” to a more specific, more teachable, term we help direct students towards more productive “thinking”.

Does this mean you really shouldn’t ask students to do a “Think Pair Share”? Of course not. Just remember that it’s a vague tool, so when you are directing students to “Think, Pair Share” you should also include a discussion about the type of thinking that is required.


What are some of the other “thinking” tools that include the word “think” that we might be more alert to?




  • Bennyboo79

    Thanks James. I am going to try this. I think it is an excellent way of doing think pair share.