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Wait Questions

Ensuring all students engage and learn from each other in an exciting way


One way to ensure all students both engage and offer up answers when participating in synchronous remote instruction is by providing “Wait Questions.” Using this technique provides students with a question – and then having them answer the question in a virtual chat without pressing enter. The teacher gives students at least one minute to type in their answers – and not answering is not an option. When the time is up, the teacher, along with their students, will count down from five to one, signaling them to press enter. Once all students press enter, there is a tidal wave of answers that flood the chat. Students are then asked to read through all of the answers, pull out common themes, ask questions, and then engage in a discussion.

This technique offers students the ability to:

  • Answer a question with low stakes, since everyone is answering at once
  • Learn from their peers by going through a virtual “gallery walk” of the various answers
  • Clarify misconceptions by seeing other answers and perspectives

This technique also enables the teacher to get a gauge on student understanding (both individually and as a class) so that they can address misconceptions, offer additional supports, or move on if everyone has mastered the material at hand.