Friday, April 22, 2011

Sitting on Your Hands

I think one of the biggest mistakes teacher and parents make is not giving our children enough time to think.  We are quick to give hints, point, or flat out answer our own question.  The average wait-time is around a second.  For many children this isn't enough time to think through a question.

When I was teaching, I used ten seconds because my ELL needed the additional time.  I would literally count to ten in my head and clasp my hands behind my back.  Yes, I had students who were ready to respond in three seconds or five seconds, but I wanted all my learners to have an opportunity to find the answer. 

So, my challenge to you is after asking a question, give your child at least five to seven seconds to think it through. The silence is going to be painful.  It's going to feel like a lifetime and you will get twitch.  If you are like me, your palms will start to sweat - my palms are sweating just writing about this.  For those five to seven seconds don't offer additional help and sit on your hands if you just can't help yourself.  You may find your child doesn't need that long, but allow him or her to make the decision. 

I would love to hear back from anyone who increased wait-time to see if your child provided better answers.

1 comment:

  1. I am going to try this - great point. I use wait-time with my adult students and forget to use it with my preschooler.