Wait Time Done Right


I was part of a PD on asking deeper questioning this week. They did a great job modeling what they were teaching us. They would introduce a concept and have us practice with a “neighbor” or would ask a question and have us discuss at our tables. They kept these activities short, only giving us a minute or two to discuss which kept us on task and did not give time for side conversations.

This was not a new process to me, but they did one extra step that I think was significant. While we were talking they went around to different groups and asked someone to share out their thinking in the large group conversation that followed. So after these small conversations when we discussed as a whole group the leaders did not have to ask who wants to share because these people were already chosen.

I had never thought of wait time like this before. To me, when I think of wait time I usually think of pausing and not calling on the first student who raises their hand, but letting other students have a chance to process first.

Their process, in my opinion, is a much better way to do wait time. Students have a warning that they will be sharing, but have time to mentally prepare what they will say and get feedback from their group. This is an opportunity for shy students to think through things and yet are given a voice without being put on the spot.

Wait time doesn’t have to mean a student thinking silently. Wait time also means the opportunity to discuss your thoughts with a partner before taking the risk of sharing with the whole group.

What techniques do you use to give your students wait time?

3 thoughts on “Wait Time Done Right

  1. Rachelle

    Great strategy. Will be using that during the facilitated discussion at Nova Now! Have used, but always great to be reminded of strategies that work. We need a full bag of tricks.

  2. Matt McC

    Great idea! I especially like that is ignites a fire for a ‘good’ conversation with a neighbor as you might need their point of view to enhance yours before giving your answer!

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