Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Partner Speaks

Heather Shaffery | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


Cover Image

Partner Speaks

Students discuss a prompt in pairs and share their partner's explanation with the whole group.

Partner Speaks


Students work in pairs to understand their partner's explanation and reasoning around a prompt. They share their partner's answer, rather than their own, with the whole class. This strategy promotes active listening, value of peer ideas, and giving voice to students who might otherwise not share their thoughts.


  1. Present students with a prompt or question to consider.

  2. Have students think of an answer to the prompt or question.

  3. Model what active listening and thoughtful consideration look like in an academic conversation in your classroom, at your grade level.

  4. Students form pairs and each explains their answer to their partner. This should include their logic, evidence, and reasoning supporting their answer as well.

  5. Students discuss and share for as long as is necessary, given the depth of the prompt/question and where the strategy is in the lesson.

  6. When they have had adequate time to discuss their answers with their partners, have each student share out their partner's answer and reasoning with the whole class.

Keeley, P. (2016). Science formative assessment: 75 practical strategies for linking assessment, instruction, and learning.Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, SAGE.