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Wait Time


Wait-Time is the time that elapses between an SI-PASS leader-initiated question and the next behaviour (student response or the leader talking again). There are two kinds of wait-time:

  1. 1) The time the leader waits after asking a question;
  2. 2) The time the leader waits after a response.


Wait-Time is an important factor in successful SI-PASS sessions. Extensive research has demonstrated that the quality and quantity of students’ verbal responses increases significantly if teachers (SI-PASS leaders) regularly utilize at least three seconds of wait-time. Wait-Time (2) seems to be even more significant than wait-time (1). So, once again, if SI-PASS leaders resist the natural temptation to jump in too quickly to answer or rephrase, student learning improves. Increased wait-time probably allows the brain more opportunity to consolidate information, which allows for deeper processing of information.


  • Rowe, M. B. (1974). Wait-Time and rewards as instructional variables, their influence on language, logic, and fate control: Part 1— wait-time. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 11(2), 81-94 ;
  • SI Supervisor Manual, The international Center for Supplemental Instruction, University of Missouri Kansas City 2014