Do you know the average wait time a teacher pauses for after asking a question in the classroom? On average, it is one second. Just one.
The ideal wait time is 8 seconds. That amount of time allows a student to think about their answer (aka metacognition). Not only is that going to allow your students to delve deeper into what their response is going to be, but it also allows YOU to craft a higher level of questioning.
If you’re asking 50 questions an hour, who is more exhausted? I dare say you because you’ve thought up all those questions! It’s definitely not your students who were able to answer them so quickly, you had to then ask another!
One of the ASCD books I’ve read recently was Never Work Harder Than Your Students and Other Principles of Great Teaching by Robyn Jackson. I was able to meet Robyn this year and think she is a powerful advocate for whatshe believes in, focusing on your students growth, not your great “strategies. .
One of the most interesting and challenging ideas Jackson presents is that teachers should be able to explain why they are doing each activity and assessment they chose. She urges teachers to ask themselves, “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” If students ask you why they’re doing an activity, and you can’t give them an answer that makes sense, you might want to rethink the activity. Does it tie back in your LO’s?
Another interesting idea Jackson develops is Principle 3: ”Expect Your Students to Get There.” She discusses the point of view that I have heard all my life among colleagues: that some students can’t or won’t do the work because they’re lazy or don’t care or whatever, and there’s really nothing we can do to change that. Jackson, however, believes that expectations are really all about what we expect of ourselves—not of our students. I don’t know about you but that sounds like a challenge to me! 🙂
Be intentional with your questioning. Make them worth answering, worth thinking about, and worthy of your students exhaustion.