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“Wait time is the period of silence between the time a question is asked and the time when one or more students respond to that question.” (TeacherVision, 2015)

It is necessary to give students some time to think about the questions and formulate a response. Even though it can feel like you have been waiting forever for an answer, or even just some small sign that they heard you, in reality it was probably less than one second. On average, teachers only wait 0.7 and 1.4 seconds after asking a question (Stahl, 1994). Try counting to at least three in your mind (one mis-sis-sip-pi, two mis-sis-sip-pi, etc) before repeating the question or rewording it. Nobody wants to turn into the economics teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Most students will take anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds to process a question and find link the correct information to it.  As such it is also a good idea to wait after getting a response to let the other students process the answer as well.

Questioning and Teaching: A Manual of Practice - J.T.


Effective Questioning and Classroom Talk - NSEAD

Posted by 2018 article

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