Think Pair Share – Propagation of a Teaching and Learning Tool


Think Pair Share, TPS, is a proven tool to embed information into pupil’s memory. Recently there has been a whole school drive using TPS. Problems arising with such drives is the lack of buy in, although most teachers are engaging with it;

Are they embracing it for the furtherment of their pupils or is it included because they feel it’s what SLT want to see?


TPS is an advanced structured form of pupil talk. A bit like Ronseal it does exactly what it says on the tin.

The question has to sufficiently open enough to let pupils think through its different facets.

e.g. What colour should you wear on a hot summer’s day?

The think phase is done in silence, but to reduce apathy, we have decided to make all pupils commit their ideas to paper.

Pair is all about discussing, justifying and evaluating their ideas with their partner, again committing to paper. We have also started to think about incorporating active listening skill into this process;

Share phase is where pupils are cold called to relay the shared ideas and the collective result of their pair phase.


The team leadership already really valued TPS, this made it much easier to start the propagation. The real challenge was to embed it into the daily teacher’s practices.

Step 1 : Talk about it extensively with your team. 

Advantages, disadvantages, how we currently use it, how we could incorporate into our subject, make pupils accountable, etc.

Step 2: Act on the talk.

Together we created an artefact to solidfy the talk, to make it real, to start owning the process.

See the TPS sheet (above) which was a culmination of the all the team talk.

Step 3: Trial and refine.

Every teacher tried it out and we refined together. Made our sheet better. This has the impact of keeping the tool current and increasing the sense of ownership.  (Thanks Tom)

Step 4 : Revisit and evaluate impact regularly.

This is the most important step we keep the dialogue going. I believe the only way to include something new into practice is through systemic coaching / mentoring.

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