Rowe (1974)

Cognitive research shows that when challenged to answer a question, a person’s response time increases proportionally to the difficulty of the question. Questions regarding a subject on which a student is not well versed requires a bit of brain work, though in many classrooms, this is not observed. In this paper, Mary Budd Rowe summarizes her research resulting in the concept of wait-time. This can be understood as the spaces between vocalization where complex thoughts can form and take on a reasonable shape. This is not familiar research for many of us, so you may want to glance over game theory, cognition, and think about how learning takes place. The rest will be discussed on Monday.


6 Responses to “Rowe (1974)”

  1. Adam Settimo Says:

    The main subject focus of the group appears to be elementary science education settings, but they do mention gathering data relating to high school and college lectures. I’m wondering if they find these increased benefits associated with longer wait time required less wait time with classes of increasing age? What I mean is as kids get older and their attention span increases is this wait time as much of an issue?

  2. Antony Says:

    I actually was asking myself the same question as Adam when I read this paper. I am skeptical this observation will still hold true in a high school and collegiate setting.

    Another important thing I was curious about was the response of the teacher when wait time was increased. It seems that teachers and not just students benefit from increased wait time. Certain factors make perfect sense such as less questions would be asked with increase wait time but what is less apparent is that more varied questions would arise from the teachers. Why is it that this is happening?

    Lastly do you think that increasing wait time had the effect of including more students participation because they felt more valuable if given more time to think? (Almost like their answer was important enough to be waited for.)

  3. Porter Marsh Says:

    I wonder if they took volume of voice into account when determining confidence. It takes tone inflections into account when determining the confidence of a student and it seems, at least to me, that volume would be relevant too. Because both graphs in figure 5 chart volume and duration I wonder if they looked in to any relation between volume and another outcome variable.

  4. Josh Ellsworth Says:

    I would be interested to see whether there is a linear relationship between response time and participation beyond the three-second data point, and if so at what point would participation fall off with an increased wait time. Also, to Adam and Tony’s points, can that relationship be expected to stay linear with increased age or does one have an inverse relationship between wait time and participation develop at some point (or length of wait time) in high school/college? I’m thinking about the point at which 3-5 seconds of silence in a lecture seems to go into a positive feedback loop (of silence) rather than generating discussion.

  5. Hunter Burgin Says:

    While reading this paper I found myself asking some similar questions as that of my peers (tone, age). The author seems to conclude that a group of four students correctly demonstrated the results that would be seen in a whole classroom, but how can they make this conclusion when so many variables can occur with larger population sizes?
    I was also wondering how influential the teacher’s language could be in skewing the student’s actual knowledge of the subject. Does the teacher make a conscious effort to guide the student towards a correct answer regardless of the student’s actual knowledge of the subject at hand? How reliable is this teaching method at producing knowledge within the student that shows up on exams?

  6. Daniel Begay Says:

    In this paper, they are examining the relationship between wait time and the way they answer and interact with the teacher. In Figure 5, they use a servo-plot to measure the amount of time it would take for a response and also measured loudness.

    I’m curious to see how much of an effect it would play if they were to separate the distinction between a silent pause and filled pause. I’m pretty sure it would make deciphering the data a lot harder, but it would make it more accurate. Because it is stated that they treated them as equivalent.

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