Pose your question, and invite each person to share their response(s) with their partners.
Continue to ask questions, or swap partners.
Video Transcript for Paired Share Debrief
Just turn to one or two people next to you. I’d like you to share with them, in a quick share, what were some of the principles that you discovered that assisted you as a group to get off the ground from your butts?
Just find one or two people that you’re standing close to now and quickly share with them what were some of the things that worked, what were the principles involved that helped you be successful to get off the ground from your butts. Find a couple of people now.
(people discussing their paired share debrief)
Ten more seconds.
Real quick, what were some of the things that you shared within your little units? Just again, looking the principles of what helped you as a group move your butts from the ground above?
(David arrived on the field)
It did lift… it inspired you, didn’t it? We always like to look good in front of David.
Equal pressure, yeah.
(Using each other’s pressure.)
Yeah. Using that, leveraging it. Yeah.
(Not just our own. In fact, we were relying on theirs.)
Have a system involved, that was useful too. Notice these are all themes that relate to pretty much any group working together. We happen to be doing an exercise with your butts on the ground, trying to lift up, but all of those could be expanded on, connected to the life of your group, the team, any level of performance or so forth.
How To Play Narrative
Like a good sequenced program of activities, your processing or debrief needs to be well sequenced too, to prepare your group for a rewarding conversation.
Ask your group to form smaller groups of two (or three) people. Depending on how long you wish to occupy them, the pairs can either stand or sit.
Position yourself so that all groups can hear you, and then ask your question(s).
Practical Leadership Tips
Take a look at Useful Debriefing Tips to learn about the benefits of processing your group’s experience, and how to run a successful debrief.
If you experience any form of resistance to a discussion at the end of your activity/program, it is likely that the group is not feeling comfortable to share in front of the larger group. This is an ideal technique to kick the conversation off.
If you have a series of questions, always start with the least threatening or intrusive topics first to ‘warm’ your group up for the more challenging conversations.
It’s hard to be left out of a pair, so this debrief strategy is ideal for generating lots of conversation and energy. Even if only half of your group is discussing what you asked them to, the collective energy of the group will help you to break the ice and build momentum for later conversations.
You could integrate Paired Share Debrief as part of a well-designed SEL program to develop your group’s ability to understand their emotions, thoughts and values and how these influence behaviour in different situations.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Linking Feelings, Values & Thoughts
Identifying Personal, Cultural & Linguistic Assets
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits to one’s wellbeing of engaging in a short episode of self-reflection.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to actively reflect on an experience may speak to the benefits of being mindful because it invites pairs to focus on being present with just one other person for a period of time.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Paired Share Debrief could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Large Group Plenary: After a minute or two, invite several small groups to volunteer what they shared with the whole group.
Mix & Mingle: If you have a series of questions, invite your group to mix, so that each person has the opportunity to share with many others, but still within the relative safety of a pair.
More Structure: Take a look at Whip Around and Fill The Gap to explore another two non-threatening, structured reflection strategies.
Form pairs (or small groups of no more than 4 people) and allocate them to a unique breakout room. Be sure to share and discuss the question before you send the pairs to their breakouts.
If useful, invite a small number of volunteers to share something that they learned from their partner when all of the groups return to the main room.
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Useful Framing Ideas
It may sound like…
“WITH JUST YOUR PARTNER(S), I WOULD LIKE YOU TO SHARE [enter question… ]”
“IN PAIRS – STARTING WITH WHOEVER HAS THE LONGEST HAIR – DISCUSS YOUR RESPONSE TO [enter topic or question…]”
The inspiration for Paired Share Debrief, and many more powerful reflection techniques, can be found in the following publication: