Power of the Pause
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
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