Topic Progress:

Strategies to increase opportunities for students to respond gain some of their effectiveness from wait time. This is the time lapse between delivering a question and calling on a student or cueing a group response. When wait time is used students are more engaged in thinking, typically participate more often, demonstrate an increase in the quality of their responses, and have more positive student-to-student interactions. Using wait time usually results in fewer re-directs of students and fewer discipline problems (Rowe, 1974; Rowe, 1987).

Think time is simply pausing after asking a question and counting for a specified amount of time.  The challenge of providing more think time for most teachers is the perception that students will begin to lose focus or behave inappropriately if responses are not given quickly.  The opposite, however, is true.  When only 1 or 2 seconds of think time is provided, only those students who process more quickly remain engaged in the task; therefore, providing a longer period of think time of at least 3 seconds increases participation and decreases disruptions.

Wait time:

  • Engages students in thinking.
  • Increases participation.
  • Increases quality of responses.
  • Results in fewer redirects of students and fewer discipline problems.                                                  

Wait time is pausing after asking a question and counting for three seconds or more. This can be done by inaudible counting, looking at a stopwatch, or following the second hand on the clock.

Students sit still facing front of the classroom, the teacher is facing them but somewhat obscured.