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Pair and Share: A Training and Presentation Technique that Works!

Summary:

Read about this favorite strategy to increase participant engagement, provide opportunity to integrate learning, and deepen retention of content.  It's simple and effective.

Topics Covered:

  • Student-Teacher Relations
  • Mentoring
  • Staff Development
  • Informal Mentoring
  • Engagement

Premium Content:

The Basics:

A favorite strategy to increase participant engagement, provide opportunity to integrate learning, and deepen retention of content is “Pair and Share.” The concept is simple; intermittently, provide a brief period of time (typically just 1-2 minutes) for participants to pair up and engage in conversation as directed with a short discussion prompt. You can add variety and build broader community by varying the pairs: “turn to the person to your right, turn to the person to your left, together with the person across the table from you, together with someone you’ve not yet talked to . . . .”

Once the pairs are created, provide the discussion prompt and just a few minutes for discussion. Following the discussion, you can continue with the presentation or training event or quickly ask for a sampling of responses from participants before doing so.

Alternative Prompts:

Here are a variety of prompts you can use for this process:

  • Summarize what you just heard.
  • Summarize what you learned in the last 15 minutes.
  • What is the most important fact you learned in the last 15 minutes?
  • Why do you think the information you just heard is important to what you do?
  • Make up a quick question about what you’ve just learned. See if your partner can answer the question.
  • Ask your partner how the information just presented fits with what they already knew on this topic.
  • Partner #1: You have fifteen (or thirty) seconds to tell your partner the most important thing you just learned about the topic. Partner #2: You have fifteen seconds (or thirty) to tell your partner a way you can use the information you just learned.
  • As a pair, create a phrase that summarizes what you’ve just learned. Be ready to tell the whole group the phrase when I ask you to do so.
  • As a pair, create a question about what you’ve just learned. Be sure to write down the question so we can come back to it later.
  • With your partner, identify one problem, concern, or issue related to what you just learned.
  • Tell your partner the answer to a question related to what you just learned. See whether he/she can figure out the question that goes with the answer.
  • What is one lingering question you still have about this topic/content/ information?
  • What is one key take away you have obtained from hearing this information today?
  • How would you summarize what you’ve learned today to a colleague (friend, neighbor)?
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