Think-Pair-Share (TPS) or Write-Pair-Share (WPS) is a cooperative learning strategy designed to help students process information individually before they interact with partners, small groups, or in large class discussions. This strategy involves giving students time to think or write about their responses to content, problems, questions, etc. then giving them time to compare their ideas with others (in small groups or pairs), then having them share out a summary or synthesis of the conversation in a larger group or classroom setting.
Step 1 - Preparation & facilitation
Provide learners with some form of content such as an article, mini lecture, short video, a problem, etc. or even a short experience such as a lab experiment, demonstration, or role-play.
Select or create a method for how students will interact with the content or experience individually. It can be as simple as giving responses to questions or summarizing the main points of a text. It can also be more involved like creating a diagram or solving a problem.
Select or create a method for how students will interact with a partner or group. Will they just share their responses or begin to create something together?
Select or create questionsto guide the large group discussion. Once they've had time to interact with the content and each other, determine what is most important for them to share with the class.
Step 2 - think
Give students or learners time (at least a few minutes) dedicated to process the information or reflect on the experience individually.
Students can just sit quietly and reflect, but it is often helpful for them to write down their responses as it promotes independent thinking. They can also refer back to their writing in later conversations.
Please do not skip this first step of giving students individual time as it affects the quality of discussion in later steps.
Step 3 - pair
Give students or learners time (at least a few minutes) dedicated to further make sense of the information or the experience in pairs or small groups. Ideally, they should build on ideas and learn from each other.
It is often helpful to have them create a summary, insights, or a synthesis of their discussion that they could share with the class.
Sharing in pairs or small groups promotes safety and builds confidence to share in larger group discussions.
step 4 - share
Give students or learners time dedicated to reflect on the information or the experience in groups or as an entire class.
At this point, it is important to hear from several conversations.
Allow them to speak freely or select a designated voice for the groups.
The key is to encourage discussion and dialogue rather than just have each group or pair share what they said.
Encourage learners to ask questions, reflect, build on the ideas of others, etc.