Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thinking, Pairing, and Sharing. It's Been a Way of Teaching for Some Time Now.

I've spent two days over the last week doing six hours of professional development in a K-8 school. I always warn people that I'm corny, and when I ask them to think, pair, then share, I often use the three images to the left. It usually gets a couple of chuckles, and I've found that teachers appreciate having opportunities to share their thinking with others.

Some groups, however, naturally begin to share before I prompt them to, but this is okay. Written language is meant to be shared and discussed.

I suppose this is why I was perplexed that out of the 120 data exit slips I collected, one (just one) stated, "Never, ever ask us to think, pair, share again." The teacher also wrote, "I just don't understand why you don't simply tell us what to do."

Was this teacher looking for more direct instruction? I'm not sure. It was an outlier response, but it triggered for me thoughts about how others get students in their midst to process information and communicate. Might it be effective NOT to have students discuss their thinking with others? Should writing processes be stated, but not explored? I'm not sure.

The assessor's big font in black sharpie CAPITALIZED letters and used exclamation points to share the dislike of the thinking, pairing, and sharing activities in the workshop!!! I noted that even if the majority of responses were highly favorable to the work I set out to do, this is the one that twisted my brain the most. Why? Because, like students, teachers gain knowledge in a variety of ways. I'm curious, however, by the ways this learner processes their world best. More intriguing to me, is how they instruct the young people they work with in their own classroom. I want to be introduced to new ways that others have mastered --- where think, pair, shares are avoided at all costs.

To never think, or pair, or share again would paralyze me. I'm not the sage-on-the-stage type; instead, I gain momentum when I let others communicate their worlds to me.

So, it's Thursday, and this is what is on my mind. I am forever open to alternative approaches with instruction so that I can reach others in this quest to understand strategies that work. I guess I want to know what the opposite of the think, pair, share actually is....

...and does it work?

No comments:

Post a Comment