The gains and pains of the think-pair-share strategy

As a collaborative teaching strategy, the two-way thinking and sharing approach has sparked controversy among teachers. Is it a valuable strategy that you should not ignore or is it not worth the time? Is it beneficial to the learning process or hinders progress?

It was developed in 1981 by Frank Lyman, a professor at the University of Maryland, I think husband share TPS has emerged as an alternative to peer education. With the aim of creating a collaborative learning environment, TPS gained momentum after being redirected to developing writing skills, also known as write-pair-share.

TPS consists of three steps:

  1. Think: The teacher asks the students to think of a question;
  2. Husband: Students turn into a partner.
  3. partner: Students discuss their answers.

You can apply TPS to any topic, especially in concept reviews, question discussion, text analysis, brainstorming, test, revision, topic development, etc.

Although it enhances a co-working environmentSome teachers have noticed some shortcomings after implementing it in their classrooms. As educators, our job is to create a learning environment that is safe and engaging for all students, and this is where the strategy may fail.

What are the upsides and downsides of the Think-Pair-Share strategy?

Any method, strategy or approach to teaching has advantages and disadvantages. As educators, it is up to us to decide if TPS is useful for our classrooms, whether and when it works, and how we can adapt it to our students. To facilitate this, I have compiled a list of aspects that cover the pros and cons:


Think-pair-share strategic gains

Here are the benefits (or pros) of this strategy:

Attract the students’ attention

TPS is the perfect way to get students back on track and back on task. It allows them to think of new concepts, processes, opinions, or observations without interruption or distraction. It helps students understand what they know and need, and increases levels of participation during lessons.

Read more: Teaching students how to manage digital distractions


Students will orally express their ideas to their classmates during pairing and sharing stages. As a result, students take greater responsibility for what they express as they participate in the learning process for their partners and the whole class.

Increase communication and collaboration

Learning happens best in groups through communication and collaboration. TPS creates a background for interaction which is a prerequisite for understanding and retaining the concept.

Read more: How distance learning promotes global collaboration


In general, the most active and confident students handle most of the classroom discussions, but TPS allows everyone to participate and feel included in the lesson. Students love to experiment with new ways of learning and become more curious and engaged as a result.

trust mode

When students work With a partner, they may feel more confident expressing their ideas and more open to feedback than sharing opinions or observations directly with the whole class. It provides the validation they need to speak in front of the entire class.

The Pains Of The Think-Pair-Share Strategy

Here are the cons (or downsides) of this strategy:

Post Monitoring

TPS is an activity that involves all students at once. In classes of more than 12 students, monitoring participation is challenging. You will not be able to evaluate each student’s contribution, which is detrimental to the learning process. They cannot receive accurate and personal feedback in a timely manner. It is also a problem for teachers because they lack an objective perspective on each student’s participation.

Read more: 7 Activities to Improve Online Class Participation Rates


For some students, talking to other peers can be nerve-wracking even if they have the time Think or partner Ideas up front with a partner. Just the thought of expressing their opinions can lead to anxiety attacks that will negatively affect their learning.


Although you can change pairs from time to time, you have no control over who shares information with the class. There will always be students who prefer to let others take center stage. In this case, TPS does not favor shy or anxious people and creates inequality among students.

unmet needs

Since you cannot monitor every student or control who will share ideas with the whole group, you will have students whose needs remain unmet. They are too anxious to talk and too afraid to refuse to fully participate in the activity, which does not allow them to develop and reach the expected stages of learning.

short talk

at the students Husband With a partner, they will inevitably waste time on small talk, unrelated to the activity itself. In this case, you have to monitor her and help her constantly refocus.

Read more: 4 ways teachers can use education technology to create personalized learning experiences for students

Tips to consider when using TPS with your students:

To make it for your classroom, here are my top five tips:

  1. Give reasonable time for students to think individually about the topic;
  2. Let the students choose the partner to pair with;
  3. Try to get everyone involved to share their thoughts with the whole class;
  4. Create a learning environment built on trust and mutual respect while rejecting any behavior that would undermine others;
  5. Use the strategy in moderation to avoid a pattern that will be more boring than engaging.


TPS is a teaching and learning strategy that promotes communication and collaboration between peers. Students will share information, observations, and opinions while learning from each other. While there are some pros and cons, the overall strategy can work with any classroom and subject matter.

As educators, we need to manage the activity for their benefit and provide support and feedback to encourage them to make their ideas heard.

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