Waiting is seldom easy, but it is often very important. Wait time provides students necessary space to process toward an answer, and I found it to be highly effective at causing me to delay my interruptions of student thinking. I learned to wait...and then to wait a little longer...and then to wait beyond my point of discomfort. This effective technique helped my students understand that I had little intention of being the one to provide the answer to the question.
An awkward pause. My opportunity to provide a rescue. Of course, sometimes the best rescue for a point of dissonance is to leave it unanswered, to continue to let the dissonance ring loudly.
...Do not insert yourself between the students and the opportunity to face dissonance and challenge. This is the exact point to test you mettle with wait time. That is the point where the students may just discover something much more important and far more powerful than an answer. They may discover a question! Recognize the moment, and put your wait-time mettle to the test. This may be precisely the moment when students begin generating the most important questions. That is a powerful and important experience. Allow it to unfold.
I want my students to ask:
- What can I do with this?
- How does this make me more powerful?
- What are the opportunities or circumstances that are happening in my life right now that this applies to?
- What do I see clearly now that I didn't even notice before?