Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Think, pair, share

Speaking, Thinking and Metacognitive Strategies: Think, Pair, Share

ESOL Principles:

Most strategies can be used to support all seven of the ESOL principles dependent upon how the teacher decides to use the strategy within their teaching and learning planning cycle. This strategy is usually used to support:

Principle 1: Know the learner- finding out about learners’ language and schooling backgrounds and their prior knowledge, using approaches that build on prior knowledge. What do you know about your students' language skills? What do you know about their prior knowledge? How will you find out this information? How will it affect your planning?

Principle 3: Maintain and make explicit the same learning outcomes for all the learners. How can I make the lesson comprehensible to all students? How can I plan the learning tasks so that all the students are actively involved? Do my students understand the learning outcomes?

Principle 5: Provide multiple opportunities for authentic language use with a focus on students using academic language. Is the language focus on key language? Do I make sure the students have many opportunities to notice and use new language?

Principle 7: Include opportunities for monitoring and self-evaluation. Am I using 'think alouds' to show students my strategy use? What opportunities are there for reflection and self-evaluation?


Think, Pair, Share is a way of providing increased wait time so that students have time to think before they speak or write. It also provides opportunities for repetition and for practising and polishing language.

The teacher directs students to think individually about the question or idea, then discuss their thinking with a partner (pair), and then share with another pair or with the whole class. It is important that students need to be able to share their partner’s ideas as well as their own.

This strategy is very easy to use and takes no preparation and it can be used across all learning areas.

video icon Primary level: Making Language and Learning Work DVD 3 – Visual Arts, Year 5-6.

Teaching and learning sequence planning examples:

Primary level:

Secondary level:

Some possible Teacher Inquiry questions:

  • Closely observe your ELL students -does the strategy help them to speak more fluently and contribute to class discussions?
  • Do my ELL students need further scaffolding in order to be able to participate in the discussion? E.g. a speaking frame, front loaded vocabulary?
  • How can I use this strategy as a way of assessing oral language progress for my ELL students?


Useful websites:

Published on: 22 Jun 2012