Claire-Marie Taggart

Primary Teacher

Sacred Heart Primary

  • Assessment For Learning

The Use of “Thinking Time” in the Classroom


As teachers, we are consistently aiming to achieve learning and teaching requirements by progressively planning various elements of the curriculum, alongside being encouraged to reflect upon improving our own practise. When we identify a flaw in our execution of a task or lesson we engage in professional dialogue with others in an attempt to gather strategies for improvement based on others’ trials and errors. (Ottesen, 2007) In our daily practise, we engage and stimulate children by using a variety of questioning techniques to ensure the ‘active’ style of learning is sustained throughout each lesson. (, 2019) As experienced as we are at asking questions, the highlighted dispute surrounding the effectiveness of questioning is the time given afterwards for the child or young person to respond. We, as a group, reflected upon the commonly used phrase of “thinking time” and this concept gave us the basis of our enquiry: The use of Thinking Time in the Classroom.


The aim of this enquiry is to develop an understanding of the importance of thinking time when posing a question to a class. Higher-level thinking skills have often been reported as important for an individual’s education, as well as an important engagement technique for teacher. (Gilliam et al., 2018) There have been various academic studies carried out investigating the impact of thinking time on the quality of an answer, and our intent is to discover the best strategies to put in place to ensure that the thinking time is the correct amount based upon different variables such as age and stage and question content and expectations of response. Our findings will be an amalgamation of pupil feedback and teacher analysis.

Download Practitioner Enquiry