The Impact of Wait/Think Time on Student Learning
We all know that Wait/Think time is necessary for ALL students to formulate thoughts and process information. In fact this strategy was first published by Mary Budd Rowe in 1972, meaning that Mr. Rooney (if he were paying more attention to instruction) could have offered a workshop for his teachers on the topic!
Benefits: For Teachers and Students
- The length and correctness of their responses increase.
- The number of their "I don't know" and no answer responses decreases.
- The number of volunteered, appropriate answers by larger numbers of students greatly increases.
- The scores of students on academic achievement tests tend to increase.
When teachers wait patiently in silence for 3 or more seconds at appropriate places, positive changes in their own teacher behaviors also occur:
- Their questioning strategies tend to be more varied and flexible.
- They decrease the quantity and increase the quality and variety of their questions.
- They ask additional questions that require more complex information processing and higher-level thinking on the part of students.
Information processing involves multiple cognitive tasks that take time. Students must have uninterrupted periods of time to process information; reflect on what has been said, observed, or done; and consider what their personal responses will be.
A Shift In Our Thinking
The videos and resources below are a great starting point to refining this skill and improving the wait/think time for your students.
Strategies You Can USE!
There are several steps necessary to teach and remind your students to use their Wait Time effectively. Charlie Friedman, principal of Nashville Classical Charter School, created a Wait Time Cheat Sheet to help make Wait Time transparent.