Date of Award
Master of Science in Education (MSEd)
Education and Human Development
Science can be defined as a way of knowing about the natural world. From the time they are born, humans have a natural curiosity about everything they observe. Teachers need to foster this desire in their students as well as provide them with a vehicle in which they can discover the natural world. For this reason, teachers should help students develop an understanding of the definition of inquiry as well as the skills necessary to use inquiry in the science classroom. One tool that can be used is Wait-time. Wait-time can be defined as the periods of silence that follow teacher questions and completed student responses. Research has shown a variety of benefits derived from wait time. Wait time helps to achieve the National Science Education Standards, and has positive impacts on both student learning and teaching techniques.
The first purpose of this project will be to analyze previous research on wait time since its conception, and demonstrate the benefits and possible detriments of wait time use. These benefits will be compared and contrasted for teachers in the Monroe and Wayne county school districts. In addition, I have created a series of "how" and ''why" questions relating to four thematic units that are part of the NYS Living Environment Regents curriculum These questions are specific to an activity that students will be engaged in as part of their learning. The activities, the objectives, how the NYS Standards are met, and a brief lesson plan will be included as part of my project.
Teachers often overlook the importance of the questioning process in learning. I have found that there is a need for wait time in the classroom. Teachers should look for opportunities to implement wait time in every lesson and become aware of their role as a facilitator in the learning process. In my classroom, student inquiry did indeed improve. I found a more positive classroom environment, increased student participation, and in the end, enhanced student understanding.
I will be asking these questions and incorporating wait time while completing each of these activities with my ninth grade living environment students. Two of the living environment classes contain many special education students. It is my hope that with a high quality questioning technique and sufficient wait time, there will be an increase in student questioning leading to inquiry and finally to content understanding.
As a result of this project, I found I was no longer lecturing to the students. Instead I was facilitating class discussions. The students were in charge of their learning and I was simply guiding them. All students benefited from this change. They were all contributing and therefore all learning. Each student seemed to have a greater understanding of the material and higher expectations for their learning.Student test scores increased especially for the special education students. They not only achieved higher grades, but they seemed to expect more of themselves. On test and laboratory reports alike, students showed an increased interest in success.
Kennedy, Kathleen E., "Wait Time- Is True Science Understanding Worth the Wait?" (2004). Education and Human Development Master's Theses. 598.