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Sitting in Silence with Sua Im

Sua Im is a teacher in Worchester, Massachusetts.

To offer your own advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BEST


ZAK: Do you know what I love? (Long pause). Silence.

SUA: Hi Zak. My name is Sua Im and I'm a teacher from Wooster, Massachusetts. I'm a special educator and this is my advice. My advice is to be ok with silence. There's a term for it in teaching. It's called Wait Time. Wait Time refers to the silence you give your students after you present a question or a thought or any other opportunity to gather their thoughts before they respond. It sounds simple but it's really hard. We want to fill the silence. We ask follow-up questions or provide clarifying points or make assumptions about what they must be thinking but really we just need to be silent. In the silence is where magic happens. I work with students who have learning disabilities, many of whom take longer to process information than their peers and they're used to people interrupting their thinking time...their magic-making. They've trained me to stretch out that silence. It's nothing for me now to be silent for an entire minute. That doesn't sound a like a long time but trust me, it is. I'm almost always surprised by what comes after the wait time. It's a letting go of control and showing trust and making space...real space for my students.

ZAK: Sua's advice goes really nicely with the week-long listening series we did back in July. You should go back and check that out. RIKKE HOUD: Go somewhere where there's trees and birds and sit there. If you sit there for awhile suddenly there's this sort of parralel society of birds that have very interesting lives and you can just start by listening to them and watching them.

ZAK: You've been listening to The Best Advice Show. I would love to hear your advice. Give me a call like Sua did on the hotline at 844-935-BEST.

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