*[Photo by Pratham Books via flickr (CC BY 2.0).]*

I discovered this gem in my blog reading today. One of the secrets of great teaching:

Audrey seemed, for once, at a loss for words. She was thinking about the question.

I try to stay focused on being silent after I ask young children questions, even semi-serious accidental ones. Unlike most adults, they actually take time to think about their answers and that often means waiting for a response, at least if you want an honest answer.

If you’re only looking for the “right” answer, it’s fairly easy to gently badger a child into it, but I’m not interested in doing that.

## Learn Math by Asking Questions

The best way for children to build mathematical fluency is through conversation. For more ideas on discussion-based math, check out these posts:

- Tell Me a (Math) Story
- Mathematicians Ask Questions
- Quotable: Learning the Math Facts
- Quotable: The Art of Teaching

And be sure to follow Christopher Danielson’s Talking Math with Your Kids blog!

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I have been to numerous teacher observation in our country and most of them can’t really wait. After one question is asked, then another, then another, without even giving students time to think. Wait time is very important. Sometimes, you just throw one question and be silent. You will be surprised that students are discussing among themselves.

It is *extremely* hard to wait. Lucky for me, my daughter enforces the wait period: If I start to talk too soon, while she’s still thinking, she covers up her ears and hides her face. So I’m learning…