Mary Budd Rowe


When I joined the faculty of Graylands Teachers College a colleague called John Lake was just returning from completing his doctoral degree at Rutgers University. He had undertaken research on wait time and as he described his research I became increasingly excited about the construct of wait time and its possibilities in science education. Immediately I began to track down publications written by Mary Budd Rowe and was attracted to her work and the thought that I might go to the United States to do my PhD with her.

Even though John was discouraging about me doing research on wait time I began a study in Perth and then proceeded to the United States to do my doctoral work, also on wait time. I spent approximately 15 years doing research on wait time – so much for the discouragement that all that needed to be done on wait time had already been done!

Colleagues described Mary Budd Rowe as “the great conceptualizer in science education.” In my mind Mary she was a wonderful interpretive researcher, ahead of her time in many regards. That Mary identified wait time as salient in a study of verbal inquiry is evidence of just how much insight she had. To me, Mary listened and usually had something to say about what she'd heard. In other words, she always brought something to the table. I think this is the mark of a great teacher – a person who will listen, learn, and contribute to the ongoing dialogue.

Mary Budd Rowe's greatest contribution was connecting theory to practice.

Kenneth Tobin 2015