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Think-Pair-Share (TPS) is a classroom exercise that allows instructors to incorporate "active learning" into classes of any size. It is effective, inclusive, and straightforward to implement. Active learning techniques improve student comprehension and engagement and have especially large benefits for members of underrepresented groups.

How to Incorporate

This process requires each student to engage in independent thought, and then to practice explaining and listening with a partner, before sharing her responses with the class as a whole. Allocate 3 minutes for each step.

  • 1. THINK: Provide each student the opportunity to think independently about the prompt (such as a question based on a scenario or a synopsis of a current event). Direct students to identify relevant economic concepts or tools and to formulate answers on their own.
  • 2. PAIR: Have students pair up and take turns explaining their thinking to a partner (e.g. each could identify an essential piece of information, concept, or tool and explain its relevance to the partner). The students discuss, provide feedback to each other, and construct a more complete and correct answer together.
  • 3. SHARE: Conclude by asking some students to share their pairs' analyses with the class.


Visit Starting Point for more information and examples.

KimMarie McGoldrick also suggests Using Note-Taking Pairs to Enhance Understanding of Difficult Concepts (such as Income and Substitution Effects).