Technique 25: Wait Time

Wait Time: Delaying a few strategic seconds after you finish asking a question and before you ask a student to begin answering it.
  • Minds work fast, and the amount of additional time necessary to improve the quality of answers may be small, but even 3-5 seconds is the key to students success.
  • Students responses are likely to increase in length and correctness.
  • The number of failures to respond is likely to decrease... Less "I don't knows".
  • The number of students who volunteer to answer is likely to increase.
  • The use of evidence in answers is likely to increase.
Some examples are:
  • "I'm waiting for more hands."
  • "I'd like to see at least fifteen hands before we hear an answer."
  • "I'm waiting for someone who can connect this scene to another play, ideally Macbeth."  
  • "I will start taking answers in ten seconds."
Top teachers use their narration of the interim period during their wait time to give them incentive and reinforce the specific behaviors that will be most productive to their students during that time.

What are your thoughts?
Look at the examples of Wait Time and see if you can come up with some more examples that would work well with students that are in the same grade as your teacher candidate program.