Pair-Share-Declare Active Learning - Active Learning

Last updated on 14/05/2020

  • You must be signed in to access this function

    Remove vote



In this hybrid strategy, students apply their pre-session learning to declare their stance on a topic and share or debate their opinions on the topic with a peer during the session.

How to implement the strategy

Pre-session activity 

  1. Provide students with a video or short text scenario on a topic that is relevant to the subject of learning for the week. Ensure the piece is debate-worthy and requires students apply their knowledge.  

  1. Instruct students to consider their stance on the video or text scenario by noting if they are ‘For’ or ‘Against’ the topic. 

  1. Instruct students to write down at least two reasons for their stance based on their understanding, views and links to the literature. 

Main session activity 

  1. During the next teaching session, refer to the video or short text and encourage students to discuss in pairs their respective views.  

  1. Allow students about 5 minutes to debate their views in pairs and make a final declaration of ‘for or against’.   

  1. For the next 5-10 minutes open discussion to the rest of the group to gauge student views.  

  1. Use the final outcome to segue into the next phase of your teaching session.

The purpose of the strategy

The purpose of this strategy is to encourage transformative learning through analysis and debate of content.  Transformative learning occurs when students are encouraged to explore their assumptions and beliefs (epistemologies) about current knowledge.  Thus, providing a debate-worthy topic encourages students to apply their knowledge to a different scenario.  In asking students to record reasons for their responses, you are encouraging them to develop reflective skills and to clarify their own beliefs about the topic. When students debate these ideas with a peer, they are reworking this knowledge and evaluating what they currently understand to be true.

Read More

You can use this strategy to gauge student understanding and/or misconceptions of a topic. This provides you an opportunity to tailor the teaching session to meet students’ needs.  It is a simple activity to promote engagement, long-term memory formation of content and promote communication skills amongst the group.   

This strategy works well in the online environment and can easily be extended to include longer debates between small groups.   

The learning focus of the strategy

  • Collaborative Learning

Technology that can be used to enhance the strategy

VoiceThread: VoiceThread can provide a platform where students share their comments and stance on the video or short text scenario you provided for the Pair-share-declare activity.  This is an excellent tool to use for Pre-session activity which is run asynchronously. In addition, VoiceThread enables students to provide peer-feedback on the posted comments; thus improving their feedback skills.  

Padlet: Share views, commentaries, stances using this tool.  You can set up 'For' and 'Against' columns where students can share opinions and rationales around their choices.  

Class size that is suitable for the strategy

  • 20 - 50 students
  • 50+ students
  • < 20 students

Activity group size

  • Pairs
  • Small group < 10

Year level in which the strategy is often used

  • First year
  • Post graduate
  • Second year
  • Third Year+

Discipline area (Academic Group) in which the strategy is often used

  • Arts Education and Law
  • Griffith Business School
  • Griffith Health
  • Griffith Sciences
  • Other Group

Phase of the learning and teaching session in which the strategy will be used

  • Main phase of the session
  • Pre-session

Preparation time for the strategy

  • Between 10 and 25 minutes

Duration of the strategy

  • Between 10 and 25 minutes

Level of learning outcome that the strategy is designed to address

  • Analyse
  • Apply
  • Evaluate
  • Understand

Learning space appropriate for the strategy

  • Online
  • Seminar room
  • Workshop

Preferred Citation

Learning Futures (2020). Pair-Share-Declare. Retrieved from


© 2024 Griffith University.