Wait Time

Identify the key features of wait time that you could use in your teaching. (EDU5MTL, Module 4.3.4)

Wait time’s primary purpose is to increase student participation and the quality of student answers. This occurs in a few ways:

  • Participation
    • More volunteers
    • Fewer opt-out answers such as “I don’t know”
  • Quality
    • Longer answers
    • Evidence used in answers
    • Best answer rather than first answer

How to use wait time effectively

  • Wait at least 3-5 seconds after asking a question before picking a student to answer
  • Use it often and consistently to habituate students to the practice
  • “Teach while you wait” – use narrated wait time to reinforce behaviours that promote deep thinking
    • Note-taking – “Some people are writing notes. I’ll give you a few more seconds to get those down.”
    • Having a go – “I’m waiting for a few more hands.”
    • Links to learning – “Think about how this relates to [the play we have been studying].”
    • Use evidence – “You might explain how the text shows us [his state of mind].”

Next Journal. . .


Fletcher-Wood, H. (2013, August 17). Increasing Wait Time. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://improvingteaching.co.uk/2013/08/17/increasing-wait-time/

[Kaizen Teaching]. (2015, August 12). Teach Like a Champion Technique 25 – Wait Time. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lecW6Ie9dVo

Wait Time

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