Effective Teachers use Take Up Time

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One of the simplest yet most effective things a teacher can use in the classroom, is the idea of using take-up time.

So what is take-up time? Take-up time is best described as the amount of time a teacher allocates in any given situation before they expect the student(s) to comply.

This concept should not be confused with ‘wait-time’ which is best used to describe the time allocated by a teacher when they are in an instructional phase and they are allowing students time to comprehend before answering.

The former is more likely to be used in behaviour management whilst the latter in instruction.

So when is take-up time best used? There are a number of different times that are suitable and these are best illustrated by example.

One situation that benefits from take up time is when the teacher is bringing a classroom of students back to focus on the teacher.

The teacher, using a recognised prompt like moving to a familiar spot in the classroom or gives a clear ‘attention’ instruction, allows the class to take-up the cue and divert their attention back to the teacher.

When a teacher regularly and consistently uses cues, their students come to acknowledge that they have to do something.

I have often done this to draw students out of classwork to my attention by moving to the front and centre of the class and clearly saying…

“Okay class, I’ll have your attention here please.” 

I then stand, perhaps smiling, giving students take-up of a few seconds, whilst scanning the classroom for compliance. Students fairly quickly cotton-on even if they missed the first instruction.

This is a far better way than pouncing on the first student who is slow to come back to your attention.

It avoids arguments and classroom confrontations and power struggles.

Another example of using take-up time is when you are monitoring a class at work and you find a student off task.

Using any number of behaviour management techniques like proximal monitoring, redirection, smiling, staring, instructing, you make sure the student understands what you wish him to do and move off onto other things, allowing him take-up time.

Again the showdowns and High-Noon dramas are avoided most of the time when you use this technique. After a few seconds you return your attention to the student to make sure they are back on task.

Should non-compliance continue then a teacher should at this point continue through with the next steps of their behaviour management routines until the student is compliant.

A more in-depth treatment of these steps and where take-up is illustrated by example can be found in this post: Redirection as an Effective Behaviour Management Strategy for Teachers.

As I mentioned in that post, invest in some proven resources like Bill Rogers‘ bestselling Classroom Behaviour, now in its 4th Edition, here at Amazon or here at the Book Depository. I’ve read Bill and I have no qualms about recommending him.

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