I have really started to pay attention to student/teacher interactions. I have been looking for a natural flow and rhythm to learning activities, especially when the teacher is involved.
When I first began teaching, I had a realization that I was trying to move my students along at my speed, not theirs. This was especially evident during small group instruction. I might read a passage with some students and engage in dialogue about the piece. I would ask questions and guide the discussion to focus on main idea, inferences, and author's purpose, along with many other learning targets.
All too often, I noticed the kids couldn't keep up with me! I didn't understand why because I thought that since we were working through the reading and dialogue together, we would all be able to participate in the conversation at the same speed. My brain found the information so their brain should do it at the same time.
It seems like a no-brainer to know that some students may work slower. However, I was so intensely involved in the learning conversation that I tried to keep it flowing smoothly...according to my own timeline.
Now, I will wait. I will wait for a long time. Perhaps too long. If a kid seems to be done with his thinking and writing, I may give him a side question to extend his thinking. I wait until it seems clear that everyone in the group is truly ready for the discussion. I watch them intensely with the hope that the activity flows for them and not me. Then we dig deeply into the passage. We do it together. No hurry!