Wait time

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Wait time is the duration of a pause after a question is posed. Studies have shown that students of color and female students respond positively when wait time is increased.

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How to incorporate wait time

  • Try to be more mindful of differential teacher-student interactions in the classroom
  • Undergraduate professors could track and codify participation in class discussion
  • Formulate plans to randomize grouped class seating
  • Include group and presentation work
  • Increase wait times for all students.


Studies compiled by Robert J. Stahl, a Professor in the Division of Curriculum and Instruction at Arizona State University, have shown that increasing wait time to 3 or more seconds results in positive effects for both teacher and student. These benefits include increased number and length of relevant responses volunteered, as well as improved questioning techniques by the teacher. Typical increased wait times lasted between 3 and 7 seconds for high-level questions, as opposed to the <1 second wait time for all questions observed in most classrooms.