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Pause...In the Neighborhood

Let’s pause for a moment in the neighborhood…

Mister Rogers and his TV family celebrate their 50th anniversary this year. This gentle and thoughtful man still has much to teach us in 2019.

For example: Speak slowly, and… pause.

Visualizing my child mesmerized by her special TV friend brings me happy memories. It turns out that many of Mister Rogers’ practices are supported by sound educational research.

Remember how slowly he spoke, and how often he paused?

Even though comedians sometimes mock him, the procedure was a very effective tool for promoting understanding.

Recent research supports slowing down speech for all ages. Guillory & Gruenfeld* concluded that people who speak slowly have a much better chance of being understood clearly. It also makes the speaker feel more powerful. How would you like to be the audacious center of your classroom in an age of brains constantly filled with fast-paced social media?

Much research** has also gone into giving “think time” in questioning strategies. My point here is mostly about Mister Rogers’ method: pause often (maybe only 5 seconds, during directions and class discussions, as well as after asking questions.)

Give kids time to digest what is being said. STOP being a slave to the clock or curriculum. Teach effectively, so kids learn and remember.

Consider PAUSING… at the end of class for a few moments. Encourage students to think about and remember the important points they should know from class today. Don’t tell them! Let the other kids state it for a while until all get the hang of reviewing and focusing quietly by themselves.

PAUSE to give students time for metacognition—help them become mindful of their own learning.

Recently Senator Michael Bennett noted that 88% of the US prison population did not graduate from high school. I suspect that many of those lost along the way never learned to read well enough to survive in high school. Maybe many of their teachers spoke and taught nonstop.

Slower speech with some pauses might help many students and teachers of all grades, especially in this crazy, turbo-charged, multi-media age.

See my August, 2019 Post about designing your class for success for everyone:

Developing Powerful and Enthusiastic Readers


If you are interested in reading parental standards for media consumption by children, see my Jan, 2018 post here:



*Guillory & Gruenfeld. Fake it Till You Make It. (2010) Stanford University School of Business Manuscript

**Nelson & Carr. Think Time Strategy. (1996) University of Utah

Here are some other interesting posts about education from my friends at TBOTEMC:

Interesting Posts about Education

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