Have you ever had those moments where you posed a question to your students and nobody responds, leaving you in awkward silence? This is a great time to utilize a think, pair, share or TPS strategy. If you cannot get students to respond, have them pause for a moment (you can also have them write) to think of an answer. Then have them turn to a partner to share answers and then you can call on students for their responses again.
This is very easy to do and only takes a few minutes of class time. Students appreciate the chance to confirm their answers with a peer rather than have the risk of putting out the wrong answer in front of the class. Another great place to use TPS is as an informal assessment tool when you want to see if students understood a main point/objective you just covered. If the students are responding with the correct answers, then you can move on to your next topic however if students are struggling to answer correctly then that is a cue to you the instructor that they have still not mastered the topic and you may need to go back and approach it again before moving on to the next topic.
Using Think, Pair, Share in the Online Environment
Think, Pair, Share (or TPS) is a great strategy for use during synchronous online meetings, sometimes called “chat sessions,” when conversation slows or halts. TPS is typically driven by an instructor question requiring thought or reflection. Using tools available in WebEx, students can be quickly broken into small groups or pairs, to consider the question, discuss thoughts with partners, and return to the full group to share with the class. This 2-minute video reviews the process of initiating breakout sessions in WebEx.