Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Think - Pair - Share - Maybe, Maybe Not

Faculty developer types always encourage faculty to get students engaged with a think-pair-share activity.  I'm ok with that; I've done it, it's a good conversation starter.

But it's overused and not always effective.  The worst teaching technique is the one you do to the exclusion of all others.  Just like all lecture is bad, throwing in a think-pair-share to pretend to get engagement or to take up time is bad.

First, the question/prompt must be good.  Second, there must be a deliverable or accountability.

A version I have used is think-pair-share-square-cube.

1.  Students individually write down some ideas that they are processing about the topic of lecture/unit/etc.
2.  Each share with a partner, usually a seat partner (which is not always great because they may be sharing with the same person all the time);
3. That pair shares with another pair to get more input and perhaps with guided questions or an added tweak.
4.  That quartet engages with another quartet (obviously, the cube only works if there are enough students or it works out mathematically, more of less).

This way they have to take more ideas into account, a real discussion, and are presenting ideas to more people publicly. 

No comments:

Post a Comment