Teacher Trick

Calling this a trick was dishonest because it’s so simple.

When you ask a question, wait five whole seconds before prompting the person or giving your own answer. FIVE seconds. Count to yourself: one one thousand, two one thousand, etc….If I don’t give a class this long to answer any questions I propose to them, then I end up answering it for them.

This is deceptively simple; however, lots of people don’t give others time to think and then answer their question. We take those few seconds of silence as our answer and interpret it as indifference, yes, no, or whatever answer we want to read into their facial expression OR we answer for them.

It’s also scary to wait for an answer. We have sit in silence and anticipate what is to come. We also have to examine the quality and contents of our own question in that silence. Don’t let nervousness and insecurities make you jump the gun and answer your own question! Sometimes it’s something as simple as “What do you want for dinner?” And if they don’t answer right away, don’t you start throwing out options? Give them a chance to speak. You asked, didn’t you?

Give them (your kids, partner, coworker, boss, friends) five whole seconds to answer. They’re just thinking it through. Isn’t that what you want them to do?

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