How Important is it to Allow a Pupil ‘Take Up Time’?

September 26, 2023
Colored pencils next to a stack of books.

I have a teacher who doesn't allow a child 'take up time'. The teacher is demanding that the behaviour changes immediately and they won't walk away/give the student a couple of minutes to recover and then come back. What's your view on that 'take up time'? (Anonymous Headteacher)

Remember a child’s brain is different from an adult’s

‘Take up time’ gives the child the thinking time they need. As we know, a child’s brain is wired differently to an adult’s and they need time to hear what the teacher is asking, to consider the implications and to respond appropriately.

Even as an adult if someone was standing over me, demanding compliance, I would immediately go into an emotional response.

This wouldn’t be the response that I would want to give when talking to another adult and so if that is how I would feel as an emotionally mature adult, it is impossible to ask our children when their brains aren’t fully formed to respond in a rational way.

What is the desired outcome?

We need to create a win-win situation.

What is the teacher trying to achieve if they are standing over the child and demanding that they comply?

What is the purpose of that behaviour from the teacher?

Surely, what we want to do is to get a child to observe what the rules/routines are in the classroom, and we want them to be part of them, respond to them and respect them.

We want this to also be done in a way that they can get back to learning as quickly as possible.

Whereas if a child is going to be forced to comply it will set off another set of emotional reactions which isn’t necessarily going to help them to get back to learning swiftly.

Consider the entire class

‘Take up time’ for students of all ages is utterly invaluable for both the student, the teacher and for the rest of the class who may be watching what is going on.

The class needs to access learning in a safe environment and if they see a teacher standing over a child enforcing compliance that is not a safe environment for children to learn well in.

For more information on the Classroom Culture train the trainer programme, our Hearts & Minds INSET, or how your school can get a Behaviour Health Check, go to our Classroom Culture programme page and fill in the consultation form.

For more answers to your questions see our Q&A introduction page

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