Explanation of Think-Pair-Share

This is a relatively simple technique that works very well with content based learning for both the ESL and immersion setting.  It can be used virtually at any time throughout a lesson and can be used effectively in a very short amount of time (2-4 minutes).  It is highly effective in both engaging the individual thinking process and soliciting extended discourse amongst peers (See chapter 4 in Reading, Writing and Learning 2005 Peregoy & Boyle and Fred Genesee's article Integrating Language and Content: Lessons from Immersion,1994 from Educational Practice Report:11).

When posing a question to the class, ask students to 'think' of a response for about 30 seconds without saying anything.  After about 30 seconds have students 'pair' up with a neighbor and 'share' their ideas.  Finally, select a few pairs of students to share with the whole class.  The idea is to avoid setting up a classroom environment wherein the teacher solicits questions and the students respond frequently using 1-2 worded responses.  You can expand on this technique to include quick jotting down of notes during the thinking part which can then also be used as a springboard for writing summaries of lesson content during a reflection time at the end of a lesson or as a written assignment.