• 20 March 2019
When It Comes to Quizzing Students, Pause and Enjoy the Silence

When It Comes to Quizzing Students, Pause and Enjoy the Silence

Jan 11, 2018

Silence may not just be golden: it could also be the exact tool your students need to sharpen critical thinking skills and refine their answers.

There isn’t much time to waste when tutoring – and you naturally want to get through as much material as possible with your students. But building just the right amount of silence into your tutoring practice might just get your students thinking harder and better, says educational consultant John McCarthy.

When asking students questions, “the average length that teachers use is 0.9 seconds,” McCarthy explains, which doesn’t give most students the time needed “to process what they know and to make sense of what they do not understand.”

The solution is to give students between 5 – 15 seconds before asking them to answer questions on familiar content. For more analytical questions, allow even more time for students to reflect, somewhere between 20 seconds – two minutes. Resources like Think from the Middle and Talk Moves offer ways to incorporate these contemplative pauses into your lesson.

So, go ahead: Next tutoring session, see what a little silence can do for your student.

banner image from https://www.edutopia.org/article/extending-silence

Extending the silence https://www.edutopia.org/article/extending-silence

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