The Power of a Pause

One of my favorite Christian education books, Created to Learn, was written by Dr. Rick Yount. It contains over 600 pages created-to-learnof information for Christian educators, teachers, and leaders on Christian education psychology. Many schools use it as a textbook in Christian education courses.

Chapter 13 is titled “Provoking The Desire to Learn,” and in it Dr. Yount writes about the importance of the pause – the time a teacher slows things down after a learner provides an answer. Dr. Yount says the following:

Having generally structured the class time and specifically solicited responses from students, teachers now react to student responses. How teachers react influences the climate of the classroom….As mentioned above, Q&A sessions can take on an oppressive feeling if the pace of questions is too fast. By pausing briefly after students respond, teachers slow down the session pace. Such pauses encourage others to consider the question and respond. Gage and Beliner call this after-response pause “Wait Time II.” Achievement increases as teachers slow down.

In a game of baseball, the pitcher controls the pace of the game. He can throw pitches rapidly, or he can spend time going through rituals that slow down the pace of the game. As teachers, we can learn to control the pace in our Bible study groups by pausing, making eye contact with group members, nodding, or asking another clarifying question of the person who responded to our question in the first place. The pace is ours to set, and pausing is effective because it helps others consider the question and respond.

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