Just as asking a certain type of question is important, we must also allow for sufficient wait time to occur to give a student a chance to think and answer the question.
When I first started asking higher level questions in my class, my students appeared as if I had I just delivered them a dose of shock therapy.I never realized that it was going to take some time for my students to adjust from answer YES/NO to giving me more in depth solutions.Once the class had adjusted (which took weeks, not days), I still had to wait on my “Wait-time I” and “wait-time II”.
Wait-time I: the time that teachers wait after having asked a question to receive an answer… three seconds here, feels like an hour!
Wait time II: the time that a teacher waits after a student has answered a question.
When you increase both of these times, with wait-time I being at least 3 seconds, the research (Rowe, 1974a, 1974b, Rowe, 1986) states you will witness the following outcomes:
·The length of student responses increases by 700%
·The number of unsolicited, but appropriate, student response increases;
·Failures of students to respond decreases;
·Students’ confidence, as reflected in decrease of inflected responses, increases;
·The incidence of speculative student responses increases;
·More students inferences are supported by evidence and logical argument;
·The incidence of student-student comparisons of data increases;
·The number of student questions and proposed experiments increases; and
·The incidence of responses from students rated by teachers as relatively slow increases.
It is troublesome for some teachers to wait for 3 seconds, but I encourage you to try it!
If you have ever waited 3 seconds after asking a question, before receiving an answer, you will understand how long this feels.However, the price we pay for waiting 3 seconds is more valuable to learning than you answering your own questions for an hour.