In many classrooms, the teacher poses a question, and one student is called on for a response. The problem is that often the rest of the class does not pay attention while one student answers, and they never take the time to form their own responses. The solution lies in engaging more than one student at a time in answering questions. You might do this with a structure such as Think-Pair-Share, but wait time is an effective, non-structured strategy for increasing this engagement every time you ask a question.
Wait time – By providing students with wait time – time to think after asking a question – teachers encourage all students to think, not just those who immediately know the answer. This increases the number of students who can answer the question.
The Highly Engaged Classroom, Marzano Research Laboratory, 2011.
Interesting note: Average wait time in a classroom after posing a prompt or question ranges from 0.7 to 1.5 seconds. According to Dr. Mary Budd Rowe, when teachers provide 3 and 5 seconds of wait time, these benefits occur: