Discussion Rhythm to Promote Student Participation

Teachers are partnering with students to establish a new rhythm in classroom questioning. This rhythm provides teachers and students with a silence for thinking at two crucial junctions in the questioning process:

• Wait Time 1: After a question is posed but before a student is called on to answer. • Wait Time 2: Directly following that student’s response.

Almost 50 years ago, Mary Budd Rowe (1969) famously discovered multiple benefits associated with intentionally pausing at these two points in the question–response–follow-up sequence. She further found three to five seconds to be optimal for both Wait Times 1 and 2.

During the next two decades, a flurry of research affirmed and extended Rowe’s initial findings (Rowe, 1986; Tobin, 1987). Investigators found that both students and teachers benefit from the intentional and consistent use of these silences. Students, of course, are the most important beneficiaries, particularly in terms of their responses to teacher questions. Their answers are lengthier (by more than 300 percent); more often evidence-based; cognitively more complex; and more frequently correct and complete. In addition, the answers show a deeper level of understanding (Rowe, 1986; Tobin, 1987).


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 A New Rhythm for Responding
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Walsh, Jackie Acree and Sattes, Beth Dankert (2017), A New Rhythm for Responding, ASCD, Retrieved on 2017-08-07
Folksonomies: education discussion