Wait Time

Wait Time refers to a few seconds delay that teachers can add after a question and before a student answers. How much time you provide is a critical factor in determining the quality of the answers you get, the number of students who participate, and also tends to improve teachers' questioning because they focus on more varied, higher quality questions.  The average high school wait time is just 1.5 seconds - and by increasing it to at least 3-5 seconds you can see dramatic improvement in student engagement!

Top 4 benefits of Wait Time:

  • The length and correctness of student responses is likely to increase.
  • The number of failures to respond (“I don’t know”) is likely to decrease.
  • The number of students who volunteer to answer is likely to increase.
  • The use of evidence in answers is likely to increase.

Watch It In Action

Tech Tool Tie-In

Use a countdown on your laptop screen to ensure you wait long enough before calling on a student. You can quickly set a timer by using http://e.ggtimer.com.  Put a / after the web address with the number of seconds you want (ex. http://e.ggtimer.com/6) and it will automatically start counting down!  Then use Command + R to refresh your page and start it again.  You can also add minutes (http://e.ggtimer.com/8minutes).

Bonus Resource

Try one of these phrases while you are waiting to reinforce positive, specific behaviors. Your wait time can be teaching time too!