Deborah Park

Primary Teacher

Woodlands Primary School

  • Bloom's Taxonomy

What happens when wait time is used when asking questions in the classroom?


Stahl (1990) states teachers do not provide pupils with a beneficial amount of thinking time before expecting an answer. According to research, teachers typically wait less than 1 second for students to respond to a given question. Thus resulting in pupils responding with knowledge level responses which is a lower cognitive – recall skill of Blooms Taxonomy Questioning (Cotton,n.d). Black, Harrison, Lee , Marshall & William (2004) describes expecting an answer in short wait time can only encourage short memorised facts and answers. Naturally, respondents will not expand answers within seconds of thinking time as they have not had a chance to develop their thoughts and reasoning. Providing extended wait time can encourage pupils to go beyond the superficial level as they realised a more thoughtful answer was required when given time to process the question and an answer (Black et al, 2004). Our group was intrigued to enquire if the number of pupil’s willing to answer would differ and if the level of pupil’s responses would differ in quality- using Blooms Taxonomy Questioning- when extended wait time is provided. Cotton (n.d) states that the longer the wait time, the more engaged pupils are and they will perform better.


The aims of this enquiry were to examine what happens when wait-time is extended in terms of:

  • the quality of pupil’s answers
  • if the number of volunteers changed
  • if pupil’s confidence differed.
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