The focus of our enquiry was to understand how thinking time affects classroom response. According to Stahl, on average teachers wait between 0.7 and 1.4 seconds after asking a question for pupil responses. Our aim was to investigate whether varying thinking time would have an effect on pupil participation. There were two strands to the enquiry. Data was collected in relation to both quantity of answers for example the number of hands raised to answer a question, and the quality and depth of answers received.
The research was carried out over a four-week period with BGE classes in a range of subjects including Science, Music and Modern Languages. The enquiry focused on wide angle lens whole class data. The data was collected through formative assessment, observation of pupils, questioning in the classroom and pupil voice evaluations. The results were then recorded to understand the effect of varying thinking time in the classroom.
It was found that leaving “thinking time” of any amount was beneficial to both quantity of pupils providing an answer and the quality and depth of the answer. Although results are inherently linked to other issues requiring careful consideration (such as the types of questioning methods to ensure all pupils are engaged and the use of Blooms Taxonomy in building an appropriate question) it was clear throughout all our results that greater time given before answering was significantly better than very little or no time at all. In cases where certain pupils are ready to provide an answer immediately, allowing extra time for consideration before taking answers resulted in significantly more developed answer. The average optimal length of time from the group was agreed to be over 5 seconds. Future research should be aimed at finding the correct duration to ensure the correct balance for the class as a whole.