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Tips for Teachers newsletter #16
Wait time, being stuck & Emma Turner
Hello, and welcome to the Tips for Teachers newsletter. For over 400 ideas to try out the very next time you step into the classroom, check out my Tips for Teacher book.
💡 A quick tip to try in class this week 💡
Teachers are pretty bad at giving students enough time to think. Researcher, Mary Budd-Rowe, suggests the typical wait time between asking a question and calling upon a student to respond is around 0.7 seconds.
If we can increase this wait time, we are likely to see plenty of benefits:
The accuracy of student responses increases
The length and complexity of student responses increases
There is an increase in responses by students who don’t typically respond
Students retrieve more, and hence learn more
Budd-Rowe suggests that 3 is the magic number - we should not allow our wait times to fall below 3 seconds for even the most basic recall question to tap into the four benefits above. And, of course, for more complex questions that wait time will need to be longer.
But how do we do this? Because, with an often misplaced emphasis on pace and engagement in lessons, slowing things down in this way may not feel natural to use or our students.
I have found that tapping out three seconds on my leg every time I ask a question is the kind of physical cue that remands me to allow my students sufficient time to think. And - as is often the case - it is worth sharing the importance of thinking hard during this time with students. If they sit there thinking "why is he tapping his leg?" they are unlikely to benefit, whereas embracing this extra opportunity to think hard about the question is likely to improve learning.
What would you need to change to make this tip work for you?
When could you try it for the first time?
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📺 A video to discuss with a colleague 📺
Behaviour expert, Tom Bennett, explains why we should teach our students what to do when stuck.
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👂 A podcast episode to listen to on your way home 👂
Primary specialist, Emma Turner, shares her five tips:
Use talk cubes to encourage students to contribute
Encourage students to say “stop!” if they are confused during an explanation
Ask students “What was the most useful thing I did today?”
Plan for error
Keep spare mini-whiteboard pen lids
Listen to the podcast here.
😎 Final bits and bobs 😎
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