Auditory Wait Time

Wait Time, Think Time

UDL 3.3 UDL 6.3

Auditory Wait Time is a verbal processing technique in which students are provided time to process information presented orally (e.g., a question posed, introduction of new vocabulary, modeling of a sentence) before expecting a verbal or nonverbal response and continuing instruction. When using Auditory Wait Time, the teacher pauses and waits before providing a repetition of the information or the answer. The teacher can also prompt surrounding peers to wait patiently while Auditory Wait Time is offered (e.g., “Let’s all just take some “think-time.” / “I can see Auburn is thinking deeply.”). While Auditory Wait Time can be implemented as a whole class strategy, it can also be particularly effective for students with hearing loss that are often actively working on listening skills and require additional time to process auditory information. It also creates the expectation of responding before a repetition or answer is provided.

Implementation Tips

Setting Communication Expectations
Use body language and facial expressions (e.g., positioning oneself to face the student while waiting for a response, eye contact) to help a student understand the expectation to process information that was provided and create a response (e.g., verbal response, physical action or gesture).
Scaffolding Before A Question Or Direction
Provide scaffolding to help a student become prepared to listen to a question or process information, especially for focused tasks that may present a challenge (e.g., “I am going to ask you a question and I would like you to think about an answer. After, tell me what you are thinking.”).
Providing Auditory Wait Time
Pace conversations or instructional interaction by providing at least 2-5 seconds between when a message is delivered and when a response is expected in order to allow a student time to process information. Avoid waiting too long before intervening with a supportive prompt (e.g., no more than 10 seconds).
Building Student Independence
Explain to learners that Auditory Wait Time is to provide “think-time.” Encourage students to ask for repetition of information or to ask clarifying questions during Auditory Wait Time if they missed information or feel confused in order to reduce wait time overall (e.g., “Can you say that again?” / “What does __ mean?”).
Using Repetition To Deepen Understanding
Repeat information if a student does not respond or react after Auditory Wait Time has been provided to support understanding missed information. For a student with hearing loss, also repeat information to reinforce if a response or reaction was successful (e.g.,”That’s right Janel, the cow does give us milk and eats grass!”).
Acknowledging Student Auditory Skills
Ask questions that help acknowledge the auditory skills of a student with hearing loss if they seem confused after wait time has been provided (e.g., “What did you hear?” instead of “What did I say?”) to help the student avoid guessing missed information and to teach the importance of trusting one’s own hearing.
Building A Routine
Apply Auditory Wait Time when seeking an answer or action from students throughout any daily interaction, especially those which require students to think deeply. Use observations to determine if a student has missed information or is still processing information before offering the information again.


Using Auditory Wait Time To Support Student Responses
During morning meeting, a teacher asks students to share what they did over the weekend. The teacher calls on a student to share (e.g., “Luna, what did you do over the weekend?”), but the student looks out the window. The teacher offers the student Auditory Wait Time (e.g., 2-3 seconds) before prompting the student (e.g., “Luna, what did you hear?”). The student explains that the information was missed and asks for a repetition of the message. After repeating the question, the teacher offers the student wait time again. The student answers and the teacher reiterates the response to deepen understanding (e.g., “Wow, Luna went swimming over the weekend!).
Allowing Processing Time In Small Group Work
While conducting a small reading group, a teacher notices that some students are more eager to participate quickly when critical thinking questions are posed than others. To allow all students in the group time to process the question and formulate thoughtful answers, the teacher explains that the group will use “think-time” before responding so that everyone in the group has an opportunity to consider a response. After presenting the next question to the group, the teacher applies Auditory Wait Time by silently counting (e.g., 2-5 seconds) before calling on students to share insights.
Supporting Students With Hearing Loss
To support a student with hearing loss, a teacher explains to school staff members (e.g., office staff, specialty teachers, lunch monitors) how Auditory Wait Time can be used when greeting or having conversations with the student during daily interactions. When school staff members greet or ask the student a question, Auditory Wait Time is provided with the use of facial expressions and body language (e.g., eye contact is maintained, waving hand while greeting) until the student waves back or replies. If needed, the greeting or question is then repeated.

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