Melissa Shaw

Primary Teacher

Sikeside Primary

  • Assessment For Learning

The Use of “Thinking Time” in the Classroom


Research found that on average when teachers ask questions, they will only wait less than one second for a pupil to respond (Rowe, 1986). Waiting time or thinking time refers to the period of silence from when a question is asked and when one or more students respond (Teacher Vision, 2015). Rowe (1986) discovered that if the period of silence between asking a question and receiving an answer was extended to 3 or more seconds, this would have benefits to the responses and their understanding. Dylan William (2010) agreed with this, stating that to allow for an increase in learning a wait time of 3 seconds is required. Research has identified that the use of extended wait time also had a positive effect on teacher. Tobin (1987) found that the quantity of questions asked lowered but the quality of questions asked increase. It also showed an increase in the higher order thinking questions which were asked (Tobin, 1987).


The aim of this enquiry was to evaluate the effect of wait time on pupil responses to questioning within a primary classroom setting. Through observing the actions and responses of children within the classroom, the benefits and potential drawbacks of implementing wait time should be evident.

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