Chapter 8: Students wait time

Rachel Richards




This past week I focus more on wait time, which is another important nonverbal behavior. Wait time is important and it marks when a conversation begins and ends, but it also determine the answers you get from students. This is an issue that I face, since I often get one answers to questions and then when I asked students to elaborate they cannot. Is this because they did not have enough time to think from the beginning to formulate an answer? My wait time is usually very short and after reading this chapter I didn’t realize how much it can interfere with student thinking, according to Good & Brophy 2002. According to Tobin, “Wait time of one second, most students cannot decide what to say or can only recall a simple, automatic fact (Tobin, 1987)”, which is probably why I mostly get one answer work to my questions. So this past week I have been giving longer wait time and I saw two elaborated answers, I wrote the questions on the board, so students were able to see them and this avoid me keep repeating it, because that may interfere with some students thinking. Increasing the waiting will take some time to get use too “it felt very uncomfortable”.

Also, maintaining eye contact is important during this time, and I understand why because students will easily get off task. Therefore, long wait time is not always beneficial (like in my period 5 & 7). For the next week I will continue to monitor this, because the time allotted also depends on the group of students. I have two periods who just don’t like to think at all for themselves. It gets frustrated because they will also prefer to talk during this time and not think. Then when I bring them back they will say “I do not understand”, after not even trying, even if they are in group discussion.

As with eye contact, I will continue observing each class preferred wait time and still give them a degree of freedom. In hope that they will understand how to participate, especially in open-ended discussions and informal conversation throughout each class. I will continue to increase my wait time and my eye contract and hope for a boost in class participation and more elaborated answers.