How long do you pause, on average, after asking a student a question? Do you attempt to answer the question for them or call on another student to fill the empty void?
Researchers have studied the amount of time teachers paused after asking a question and the effect it had on its learners. The average length of time that the teachers typically paused was found to be 0.9 seconds. Recent studies have shown that pausing for at least 5 to 15 seconds has a much more positive impact on a student's ability to express themselves effectively.
As a Special Education teacher of students with processing and motor skill challenges, I can attest to the importance of providing sufficient pause (processing) time. Additional wait time enables my students the time they need to process information, organize their thoughts and prepare a verbal, written or typed response. Since every student processes information at their own individual pace, I encourage all teachers to grant them additional pause time and marvel at their amazing responses!
-Debbie Castelluccio, Teacher, Celebrate the Children
Several months ago, a student, who types to communicate, shared his interest in “superheroes”. After expressing this interest, he was interested to hear that there are other students and staff members who have a passion for superheroes as well.
This communication has turned into the development of a weekly “SUPERHEROES GROUP” spearheaded by Karen Campbell.
Every Thursday morning, in a high school classroom friends come together for this group. Students with varying communication abilities join together with self-proclaimed “superhero nerds”, Jon and Jordan. The group has discussed recent movie releases, favorite characters, comic books and have even engaged in an awesome conversation on how autism is portrayed in this genre. Everyone participates and are happy to share their thoughts and opinions with the group and even, on occasion, debate when their views are different.
This group started out with a couple participants and as time has gone on, more students have opted to stay and participate. This is a wonderful way for our kids to connect, relate, and engage with each other over a shared passion for something where everyone feels respected, included, and proud. This has become an hour both students and staff look forward to every week and shows how much our students are able to participate when they are given a chance to engage in something they are passionate about. Friendship, conversation and most of all SUPERHEROES!!
- Lisa Romaine, Supported Communication Teacher, Celebrate the Children
Contributions to this blog are made by Celebrate the Children's highly talented, interdisciplinary team and wonderful families.