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Wait Time


Impact student learning and communication skills take time to pause Notice Our Cultural Container We live in a fast paced, information-seeking society Time ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Wait Time

Wait Time
  • Impact student learning and communication skills
  • take time to pause

  • The students we serve in our special education
    programs across District 287 have
  • a variety of abilities and challenges,
  • cultural differences,
  • strengths, gifts, talents,
  • a wide range of family situations
  • diverse educational history,
  • variety of needs or identified areas for
    continued growth.

  • Many of our students have been diagnosed with
    multiple disabilities. In addition, many have
    co-occurring mental health issues.

  • Many variables can impact
  • the ability to learn and the ability to

  • Staff have varied levels of knowledge and
    understanding regarding our students ability to
  • process incoming verbal and nonverbal
  • make sense of it and
  • respond in a timely and effective manner

  • There can be singular or multiple reasons for our
    students difficulty in processing verbal or
    auditory information. Some examples include
  • Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Central Auditory Processing Disorder,
  • Language Processing Disorder,
  • processing challenges related to a
  • Traumatic Brain Injury,
  • Autism,
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Medication can also impact our students ability
    to perceive, process and respond to different

Additional variables that can impact processing
  • Mental Health
  • Physical Health
  • Sleep
  • Diet
  • Stress
  • Environmental Noise
  • Internal Noise ( multi-tasking, and
    preoccupation with another situation)

  • Lets take some time to explore
  • wait time

  • Processing incoming information refers to how
    quickly and accurately we can react to incoming
    information, understand it, think about it,
    formulate a response, and execute that response.

  • The speed and accuracy of information processing
    is not the same as intelligence.
  • It is possible to be very bright, yet process
    information slowly.

  • Information processing involves multiple
    cognitive tasks that take time.
  • Students need uninterrupted periods of time to
    process information reflect on what has been
    said, observed, or done and consider what their
    personal responses will be.

  • Why is it important to wait and allow students
    time to communicate?
  • Students with disabilities are often still
    learning how to effectively communicate.
  • They may need additional time to understand what
    is said to them.
  • They may need help knowing when to take a turn.
  • They may need additional time to figure out how
    to answer a question or make a request.
  • They may have vision or motor challenges that
    delay their response time or ability to locate
    and indicate what they want to say.

  • Mary Budd Rowe discovered that children's
    understanding is greatly affected by the nature
    of discourse or verbal interaction. The type of
    discourse, she found, was determined by what she
  • wait-time.

  • The concept of "wait-time, as an instructional
    variable, was invented by Mary Budd Rowe (1972).
  • The "wait-time" periods she found -- periods of
    silence that followed teacher questions and
    students' completed responses -- rarely lasted
    more than 1.5 seconds in typical classrooms.

She discovered, however, that when these periods
of silence lasted at least 3 seconds, many
positive things happened to students' and
teachers' behaviors and attitudes. To attain
these benefits, teachers were urged to "wait" in
silence for 3 or more seconds after their
questions, and after students completed their
  • Rowe discovered that there are
  • two wait-time intervals
  • The first occurs after taking ones turn
  • The second is the interval after receiving a
    response from another and before saying anything.
  • For the first interval, the average teacher waits
    0.9 seconds.
  • The wait for the second interval is usually much

  • The first wait-time interval is important to
    allow a student to consider what has been
    communicated and to formulate a response.
  • The second wait-time interval is crucial to
    encouraging that student to continue and expand
    his/her response or, if in a group setting, time
    for another student to extend the idea.

  • Dr. Rowe did her research in hundreds schools.
    It has been replicated many times at all
    educational levels. The results have been
    extraordinarily and consistently the same.

  • Dr. Rowe discovered that if wait-times are
    increased to three to five seconds some good
    things happen
  • Responses change from a single word to longer
    pieces of information
  • The inflection on the end of the response that
    says, Am I right? disappears. Self-confidence
  • Speculative thinking increases.
  • Guessing, I don't know, and inappropriate /
    disrespectful responses decrease.
  • Students piggyback on each other's ideas.
  • The interaction becomes a student-student
    discussion, moderated by the teacher, instead of
    a teacher-student inquisition.

  • When staff mindfully wait in silence for 3 or
    more seconds at appropriate places, positive
    changes in their own interactive behaviors also
  • Their interactive strategies tend to be more
    varied and flexible.
  • They decrease the quantity and increase the
    quality and variety of their communicative
    strategies LESS question-asking and more
    genuine conversation occurs.
  • They use communicative strategies that require
    more complex information processing and
    higher-level thinking on the part of students.

  • (continued)

  • Students ask more questions.
  • Students propose more ideas / share more
  • Student thinking and communication improves.
  • Classroom discipline improves.
  • Teachers ask fewer questions.
  • Teachers ask better questions,
  • Staff increase the variety and quality of their
    communicative strategies and promote higher-order
    thinking skills.

Importantly, the research on pacing within
interactions suggests that increasing wait time
is easier to describe than to do.
  • when teachers wait for three second or more,
    especially after a student response, there are
    pronounced changes in student use of language and
    logic as well as in student and teacher attitudes
    and expectations, (quoted in Cazden, 2001, p.
  • Lets review some of the
  • positive outcomes of
  • increased use of wait time

  • 1.Teachers responses exhibit greater
    flexibility, indicated by the occurrence of fewer
    communication errors and greater continuity in
    the development of ideas.

  • 2.Teachers ask fewer questions,
  • but when they do, they are more
  • cognitively complex and thoughtful.

  • 3. Teachers become more adept at using student
    responsespossibly because they, too, are
    benefiting from the opportunity afforded by the
    increased time to listen to what students say.

  • 4. Expectations for the performances of certain
    students seem to improve, and some previously
    invisible students become visible.

  • 5. Students are no longer restricted to
    responding to teacher questions - they get to
    practice a variety of communicative strategies
    such as sharing expanded or related information,
    expressing ideas and opinions, clarifying
    concepts, thinking aloud reacting, as well as
  • Cazden, 2001

Think-time" a distinct period of
uninterrupted silence by the teacher and all
students so that they both can complete
appropriate information processing tasks,
feelings, oral responses, and actions.
Skillful Use of Think-Time... There are few
instructionally sound reasons for not allowing at
least 3 seconds of silence. Staff should
deliberately and consistently wait in silence for
3-5 seconds or longer. Staff should ensure
that all students also preserve the
disturbance-free silence so that both the
students and teacher can consider and process
relevant information and then act accordingly.
The skillful use of think-time contributes
significantly to improved teaching and learning.
Clearly, in making a shift in wait time, staff
are doing far more than simply waiting longer.
They are rethinking the kinds of questions and
comments they formulate, and their expectations
for student interaction / participation. They
are promoting the development of language and
communication skills.
  • Research suggests that one of the most effective
    ways to encourage children to communicate is to
    pause and wait. The use of this strategy . . .
  • clearly marks the opportunity for the student to
  • clearly indicates that the student is expected /
    invited to communicate
  • Provides additional time for the student to
    understand what is said
  • Provides additional time for the student to
    formulate a message

Notice Our Cultural Container
  • We live in a fast paced, information-seeking
  • Time expectations for giving and receiving
    information have and are drastically changing
  • Most people grew up in families, schools, and
    communities where wait time in conversation was
  • We use all kinds of fillers verbal and
    nonverbal to fill the pauses
  • Most people like others who can deliver
    information quickly and succinctly

To support our students with processing
challenges staff can use wait time. What can our
students learn / do to help themselves?
Strategies for our students to learn and use . .
. 1. Ask for more time (to sort out and
process verbal information), e.g. I need a
minute and/or use a generally understood
2. Express the need to have staff slow down the
rate of incoming information, - staff use
strategically placed pauses to insure longer time
for processing e.g. Wait a minute, Could you
slow down please?, etc.
3. Ask for revisions and clarification e.g.
Can you say that in another way?,
I dont understand
4. Ask for visual(s) or hands-on demonstration
(to augment verbal message / instruction) e.g.
Can you show me, Would you write that down?,
Is there a picture, chart or visual summary?.
5. Take responsibility for letting other(s) when
a message has not been understood e.g. I didnt
get that, could you say it differently?
6. Request need for a physical change in
location when environment is too noisy or busy or
multiple interactions occurring simultaneously,
etc. - the environment interferes with
processing, the ability to listen / focus.
e.g. Its too noisy / busy in here for me to
think - can we find a quieter or calmer place to
Because of processing challenges, many of our
students need to continue to expand and refine
their self-advocacy skills and develop
compensatory strategies to assist them in various
settings. Our work is to help them figure out
what works best for them, encourage increasing
responsibility so they can become more and more
successful and independent.
Take a moment now . . .
  • What was modeled and encouraged in your family,
    school etc. growing up
  • What are you taking away
  • As a team . . .
  • What are we doing to mindfully support our
  • Track your impact overtime

Wait Time
  • positively impacts student learning and
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