Extending Silence for the Students to Think 

Silence for the Students to Think during the class is often referred to as the “wait time”. The term “wait time” in education refers to two distinct procedures in which teachers purposefully halt. First, wait time 1 refers to the 3-5 second period between asking a question and receiving a response. Second, after a student answer, wait time 2 is a 3-5 second gap. There is a real need to give pupils more time to digest what they already know and make sense of what they don’t.

After a question is asked, the ‘wait period’ allows students’ brains to organize the numerous processes that are involved in thinking and reflecting. Even the sharpest student brain requires time to hear the teacher’s question, consider alternative replies, choose the best one, and then raise their hand to share with their classmates. As a result, lengthening the wait time gives pupils more time to hear a question and construct an answer, allowing for brain processing.

Another key reason for professors to employ wait time is that it allows students to think creatively, profoundly, and outside of the ‘easy to reach’ solution. Our pupils are used to getting answers and solutions rapidly since they grew up in a Google-search era. However, the quickest response isn’t always the most appropriate response. Waiting helps pupils to organize and filter their thoughts, which is a necessary ability for critical thinking. In the same way that the initial results on a purchasing website, such as Amazon, the first results aren’t always what we’re looking for. Students require time to process and examine their ideas. Silence for the Students to Think can be very crucial for developing critical thinking skills.

Ways to provide more time or Silence for the Students to Think:

  • Allow pupils five to fifteen seconds to prepare a response to a question to which they should be able to respond. Not every student has the same pace in processing the answer or a response. The content of the answer, not its speed, should be used to assess its quality. You should give at least 15 seconds to the students.  Instead of asking for volunteers, you can call on students if you don’t get answers within 15 seconds.
  • Allow students 20 seconds to two minutes to think about topics that demand analysis to synthesize concepts into a new construct or frame. Providing Silence for the students to think can help them in critical thinking.
  • Encourage journaling, solitary reflection, or companion conversations to help with this. Giving such long periods is a great honor. the task that pupils are expected to do. Quick replies indicate that the question did not challenge the students’ knowledge. Any student can be called upon to share their response after the time limit has expired.
  • Teach pupils about the importance of introspection and how to do it. The customary one-second pause duration is used because educators and students may appear to be uncomfortable with quiet. Nothing seems to be occurring while there is silence.
  • In truth, kids may become more productive during contemplation if they are given systematic techniques to practice thinking and explicit directives about what to do during the silent time. Also, ‘Think From the Middle is a set of strategies for students to improve their thinking processes during reflection and collaboration. 
  • Teach kids how to conduct themselves in a discussion. It’s a joy to see children having serious discussions about themes that blend academic and real-world connections. Create a culture that encourages kids to engage in these types of discussions, and they’ll soon be doing the majority of the heavy work throughout the class.
  • Talk Moves, a handbook by John McCarthy, for student-led discussion prompts, is one great example, to take help from. This list of conversation stems gives students the tools they need to participate in and sustain conversations. I’ve seen them used in science classes in conjunction with the Next Generation Science Standards, and they apply to all subject areas.
  • Students select the beginning stem that best supports the discussion subject. The Talk Moves are used by teachers to train and guide pupils to different levels of understanding by pointing them to various areas of discussion starters The goal is for students to take control of the dialogue, allowing them to better comprehend subjects.

For more Education related articles, you may also like; Inquiry and Research Process

Wrapping up:

We want pupils to become self-directed learners capable of navigating difficult material and circumstances. Students learn at varied rates, which appears to have less to do with intellect and more to do with time constraints placed in the way of learning. Silence for the Students to Think can be very crucial for developing critical thinking skills.

While timed replies and answering questions under the constraint of a clock have their place, there are no requirements that pupils comprehend subjects in less than one second. If they are expected to participate in a conversation, most people require ample time to absorb their views. Life isn’t a short-term game show with rapid-fire questions requiring simple responses, as well as commercial interruptions. Even if it were, it would take decades to learn and perfect the necessary processing abilities.

Carter Martin

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