In the modern classroom, the importance of the time to think is often lost amongst the sands of time. The timetable controls the thoughts of teachers as they try and squeeze 90 seconds into the final 30. It is not an easy task and we often place far too much stress on our shoulders to try and succeed. Often what is required is the time to reflect and think.
‘The Housemartins’ had it spot on when they sang, ‘Think for a minute, stop for a minute.’
Whilst taking assembly I always try to encourage the pupils to think for a minute. This can often be in relation to the value of the month or if you wish them to consider a moral dilemma. Either way, the key is the need to provide the pupils to take time and think.
Modern technology is wonderful yet new games are a constant on the go mixture of not allowing your brain or reflexes to relax. Pupils are often told they are restless or fidgety yet in the world today we do not often see pupils without a device firmly placed in their hand.
If we are making an effort to create citizens of the 21st Century then I firmly believe that a time for reflection is an essential tool. We know that when it comes to marking work that the main aim is to respond to the content and develop the way forward. What is often lacking in pupils books is the professional dialogue between the teacher and pupil. Very often books can be marked thoroughly yet the pupil hasn’t had time to respond to the comments. The pressure of the timetable seems to prevent teachers from allowing the pupils time to reflect on the comments.
Thinking for a minute is also an excellent behaviour tool. If you sense that a child is becoming extremely frustrated or getting into a state then help them to take a step back from the situation. Many pupils will have grown up without the knowledge of taking a minute in order to gain control over their emotions. Television programmes do not often encourage reflection and thought. In soap opera land the world is full of shouting, tension, feuds, fighting etc. Very rarely will pupils discover a role model that will encourage them to reflect on their feelings. The X-Factor is back on and again pupils will learn that criticism is a way of life but wouldn’t it be greatly improved if the learning journey was a shared opportunity to develop a professional dialogue to map the road to improvement.
If your school does follow a values based education then you will know the importance of taking a minute. It can be the key in creating a calm and happy working environment. It is a tool that will make pupils better people and it will also improve their own well being.