Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wait Time

Henkin, R. (1998). Who's invited to share?: using literacy to teach equity and social justice. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

“A large body of research supports the idea that if teachers wait three to five seconds after asking a question or before calling on a student, higher-level learning will occur. Even more importantly, if teachers can wait three to five seconds when students have stopped talking, more complex ideas will develop. The minute we start talking, students’ thinking is interrupted and thoughts are lost. (60)

This quote gave me many ideas for my action research in my own classroom. When a child is sharing or presenting in front of the class and a child asks them a question, sometimes that few seconds can seems like an eternity. My mind begins thinking, should I step in? Should I say something? Is this taking too much time? What if he/she has nothing to say? I need to restrain myself and not talk. What will end up being said?

Another question this makes me wonder is if this wait time occurs in social situations? How often would I see it occur during 45 minutes of free choice? Would my findings reinforce the importance of offering this wait time in academic situations? Are students taught to talk fast and simply raise their hands quickly? Does this reflect the pace at which our society moves?

This chapter definitely made me realize the importance of teaching the importance of student wait time and to provide numerous opportunities for students to activate further reflection.

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