Wait Time (or “Think Time”): The concept of ‘wait time’ is based on the recognition that students need an uninterrupted period of time to process information, reflect on a topic and consider their response. ‘Wait time’ should last at least 3 seconds after a question has been asked. It can have the following positive outcomes: the number of correct pupil responses increases; pupils tend to answer in more depth; the number of “I don’t know” responses decreases; the number of volunteered answers greatly increases; the scores of students on academic achievement tests tend to increase. Using ‘wait time’ also leads to positive changes in the ways that teachers approach questioning: questioning strategies tend to be more varied and flexible; teachers decrease the quantity and increase the quality and variety of their questions; teachers ask additional questions that require more complex information processing and higher-level thinking on the part of students.
No Hands Up: A questioning strategy where pupils are not allowed to raise their hands and instead the teacher selects a pupil to answer. By establishing a rule of ‘no hands up’ in a question-and-answer session, distractions are reduced and pupils have more time to think. This technique also helps the teacher to ensure that every pupil in the room is involved in questioning, and encourages all of the pupils to stay focused, because they are aware that everyone is expected to be able to offer an answer.
Beat the Teacher: This is a technique where the teacher makes deliberate mistakes and the pupils have to correct them. It can be used during any stage of the 4-phase lesson and is a useful tool in ensuring that pupils are engaged in the lesson, as well as in assessing understanding, by checking pupils’ ability to correct mistakes made by the teacher.
Think, Pair & Share: An activity to encourage higher-order thinking that involves pupils thinking about a given topic individually, then pairing with a partner, then sharing ideas with the wider group. The sequence generally begins with the teacher posing an open-ended question, to which there may be a range of responses. Think time is followed by discussion with a partner. The pair then share pooled ideas with the whole class. This structure has also been adopted as a co-operative learning strategy.
Thumbs Up: This is a simple strategy where pupils signal using their thumbs to indicate their understanding of a given topic. It works best when pupils are able to use their thumbs to convey three different meanings:
• Thumbs up: I understand this topic fully and could explain it to someone else
• Thumbs sideways: I’m not yet completely sure about this topic and need to study it in more depth
• Thumbs down: I do not understand this topic at all