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Building a Culture of "Wait Time"

As students were making their way back to campus after spring break, faculty gathered on Monday for a series of meetings, one of which was a professional development workshop presented by guest Doug Lemov.
Mr. Lemov is the Managing Director of Uncommon Schools’ Teach Like a Champion team, and the author of the international bestseller Teach Like a Champion, a study of high performing urban teachers to make their methods concrete and replicable. (He is also a college friend of Mr. Dave Stone, Dean of Faculty.) He shared with Cushing faculty his thoughts and observations on great teaching, the ways in which teachers can become better at helping children learn, and how seemingly mundane routines can have magical effects.
One particular area of his focus: building a culture of “wait time” in the classroom. Instead of asking a question and allowing students to shout out answers, or calling on the first student with a raised hand, teachers should consider adding a short delay between the question and answer. By doing so, “this can help increase the quantity and quality of participation. You’ll have a wider range of students offering better, more rigorous answers.”
At his suggestion, our teachers broke into small groups to practice employing that pause, and trying out different ways to ask questions in an effort to prompt thinking, increase participation, and to teach students how to use thinking time productively. “Little things like this," he stated, "can have big muscles when it comes to student achievement.”

Said Dave Stone, "Doug Lemov has led a revolution in teacher training, focusing on practical, concrete methods that are easily applied in the classroom. I hope that our faculty came away from his presentation feeling energized and perhaps with a new perspective on pedagogy. Doug's book is a staple of our Teaching Fellows program for first-year teachers. It was a treat for our Fellows to meet with Doug after his talk and discuss their work with him."

Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.