Increasing Wait Time – For STLE3 Grant

Wait Three Seconds by Harry Fletcher-Wood in AFL, CPD

  • Citing research and his own experience, Harry claims that waiting three seconds between asking a question and accepting an answer from a student has a very positive impact. Increasing wait time leads to: longer student responses, less failure to respond, more complex responses, more student to student discourse, more student-initiated discourse, decreased student confusion, and higher achievement.
  • Harry also recommends waiting three seconds before responding to students. This allows his responses to be more considered, and enables students to respond to each other’s points better. Making this change is not easy and some may want to watch the second hand on the classroom clock to make sure the wait is sufficient. It’s also necessary to establish a no calling out student behavior plan and gather feedback from students.

Using Think-Time and Wait-Time Skillfully in the Classroom by Robert Stahl (ED370885)

  • Robert cites research from 1972 that found that waiting three seconds or more for student responses results in: increases in the length and correctness of responses, a decrease no/don’t know answers, more answers from more students, improved achievement, more varied questioning strategies, fewer questions of higher quality, and questions that require more complex thinking.
  • Robert goes on to discuss eight categories of silence. In addition to post-teacher question time they include: pauses within student responses, pauses after student responses, teachers pausing when not asking a question, and longer pauses for reflection. It is vital that the teacher establish student behaviors that allow for disruption-free pauses.
    Thanks to Barb Phillips and Amy Johnson for these articles.

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