4 Partner Response Techniques Proven To Increase Student Engagement

In this edition of Ten Minute Clinic, we will take a closer look at an Explicit Instruction lesson delivery technique, Opportunities to Respond. We will specifically look at Partner Responses, which is an important lesson delivery technique that will help you reach your instructional goals of helping students to become increasingly respectful, responsible, resourceful, and highly engaged in instructional activitiesPartner Responses can be especially helpful in the area of student engagement.

Opportunities To Respond, also known as OTR, consist of Speaking, Writing, and Signaling. We will be delving into Speaking in this Ten Minute Clinic by looking closely at Partner Responses, which falls into the Speaking category.





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Partner Responses

Partner Response occurs when ALL students have an opportunity to share answers with a partner. Partner Response should be used when answers vary and the wording is longer. The teacher can support effective use of Partner Response by strategically assigning partners, paying close attention to proper positioning of partners, and providing students with partner communication techniques.


There are four highly successful Partner Response strategies:

  1. Think-Pair-Share

  2. Think and Write-Pair and Write-Share

  3. The PAUSE Procedure

  4. Study-Tell-Help-Check



Think-Pair-Share is when the teacher asks the class a question and gives them time to think. The students then pair up and share their ideas about the question. The teacher then calls on some of the students to share their thoughts with the class. This powerful Partner Response strategy was created by Frank Lyman in 1981 and has withstood the test of time.


Think and Write-Pair and Write-Share

Think and Write-Pair and Write-Share is when the teacher adds a WRITE step to Think-Pair-Share. This step is similar to brainstorming. Students write down their ideas before pairing up. This is a great way to mix up Think-Pair-Share as well as a great way to hold students accountable as it is easier to monitor a “write” step as opposed to a “think.”


The PAUSE Procedure

The PAUSE Procedure is useful during a longer lecture. During a lecture, the teacher pauses after 12-18 minutes to give the students 3-4 minutes to process the information. During this Pause, the students can do a number of things. Some suggested uses of this time are summarizing, answering, predicting, and sharing activities.



Study-Tell-Help-Check is when the teacher gives the students 2 minutes to study. Then one student tells the partner all that they can remember. The partner then helps the student by reminding them of any missing information. The partners use all available resources to check their accuracy. This potent strategy is huge for helping students feel more accountable for their learning.


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