Questioning is undoubtedly an essential part of teaching and learning. The most obvious benefit and purpose of questioning is assessing the level of knowledge of previously taught content which can then be used to form future teaching and learning. However, it is known that using assessment for learning which requires effective, considered questioning techniques can actually aid the learning rather than just checking or verifying it. Rather than the answer being one word at the very front of a child’s mind, questioning which requires a process of thinking is more effective in terms of learning and gaining skills which can be applied in other contexts. However, it is clear that not every learners thought process is the same. Some will have the answer almost instantaneously whilst the majority of the class may require significantly longer to think the question through. Practitioners having knowledge of how thinking time – the time between a question being asked and the answer being offered- affects the response from a class and putting that into practice could significantly change the effectiveness of questioning on the whole class. This has been considered in existing literature (Rowe, 1972) (Stahl, 1994) finding an average thinking (or wait) time given by practitioners of between 0.7s and 1.4s.
The aim of this enquiry was to explore and evaluate the consequences of varying the time between asking learners a question and the learner answering the question, both in terms of quantity of those offering an answer and the quality of the answer. This would allow the practitioner to implement the findings in their own practice to optimised learning and teaching experience of the young people.