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The #1 ...... (faux pas / weakness) of instructors.

Number One** Not your ordinary endless list - just what's number 1. Just the BEST.

Not Pausing while speaking

I've been in a lot of classrooms recently. One thing that becomes abundantly clear is that most instructors aren't pausing enough while speaking. Students need time to process language, students need time to think about the answer to a question, students need time to "wrap their brain around things".

This is under appreciated by English Language instructors for the most part. It is also a very effective skill for any presenter - giving your audience time to think! (see my fav. Bill Cosby speech for an example!).

Teachers need to "slow down" by pausing between sentences. Especially when asking questions, they need to count to 5 or more and then have a student respond. There is a lot of "heat" and cognitive demand on an ELLs brain - let's give them time to chill!

This video I subtitled, addresses this question well - focused on general teaching skills and asking questions in the classroom.

Views: 79


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Comment by Ellen Pham on December 29, 2009 at 3:38am
#1 Teaching Method that will immediately improve your effectiveness in the classroom: WAIT TIME!

Of course, the video goes further than that, introducing open questioning techniques... I especially like when the students think of their own questions, and use that as a base for discussion... Good video for introducing the topic to new teachers, and for reminding those of us who have been around awhile to USE both wait time and open questioning techniques!

..............................

I'm getting lazy... here is a comment I wrote awhile ago about "think time"... but the link to an article my Mary Rowe, who is mentioned in the video, is dead... last year it was available for free- this year, even ERIC can't give it to you, and the Journal of Teacher Education wants you to pay $25 for it. Mary Rowe DIED in 1996- the money isn't going to her! Unbelievable!

The basic point is, wait 3-5 seconds after you ask a question before choosing a student to answer (or answering yourself). And trust that this is a very well researched phenomenon- try it, make yourself do it, it works.

Here's my old comment. I'll get the Mary Rowe article from the library sometime soon and scan it in.

...a simple application of your advice to "allow for space" is wait time, where a teacher deliberately waits for at least 3 seconds after asking a question... you think, 3 seconds? that isn't very long, of course I usually do that! But if you check yourself, you will be surprised! Most of us have to push through that little antsy feeling we get, oh my god, no one is responding! to get to even 3 seconds! I found it helpful at first to actually count it out in my head... one mississippi, two mississippi... and to make sure I wasn't "counting" too fast, to go to five mississippi... funny, but it worked, and there was much greater response from the students who seemed more quiet : )

Here is an easy to read article on the concept (now referred to as "think time"), and a more researchy article written for the Journal of Teacher Education by Mary Rowe, the educator who initially brought the concept of wait time to public attention. The article was written in 1986, with her original concept being published in 1972- it has been around for awhile! Both articles expand on the original concept and adapt it to more teaching situations.

It is such a simple, commonsense, and easy to implement instructional technique- everyone should be aware of it!

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