Some stunning findings into the power of questioning and especially on what is called ‘Wait Time’. In particular:
The average wait-time teachers allow after posing a question is one second or less.
Students whom teachers perceive as slow or poor learners are given less wait-time than those teachers view as more capable.
For lower cognitive questions, a wait-time of three seconds is most positively related to achievement, with less success resulting from shorter or longer wait-times.
There seems to be no wait-time threshold for higher cognitive questions; students seem to become more and more engaged and perform better and better the longer the teacher is willing to wait.
Increasing wait-time beyond three seconds is positively related to the following student outcomes:
- Improvements in the student achievement
- Improvements in student retention, as measured by delayed tests
- Increases in the number of higher cognitive responses generated by students
- Increases in the length of student responses
- Increases in the number of unsolicited responses
- Decreases in students’ failure to respond
- Increases in the amount and quality of evidence students offer to support their inferences
- Increases in contributions by students who do not participate much when wait-time is under three seconds
- Expansion of the variety of responses offered by students
- Decreases in student interruptions
- Increases in student-student interactions
- Increases in the number of questions posed by students
Increasing wait-time beyond three seconds is positively related to the following teacher outcomes:
- in flexibility of teacher responses, with teachers listening more and engaging students in more discussions
- Increases in teacher expectations regarding students usually thought of as slow
- Expansion of the variety of questions asked by teachers
- Increases in the number of higher cognitive questions asked by teachers.