Attention Responsive Classroom Teachers

As many teachers know, one of the key components of the Responsive Classroom Program is the “Take a Break.” It is designed to restore a learning environment and to help students gain self-control quietly while allowing them to maintain their dignity with their classmates.

We believe maintaining students’ dignity is critical if one hopes to change behavior. We have observed many teachers utilize the “take a break” in a way that effectively preserves the child’s dignity.

We have also witnessed teachers who bark out the words “take a break” more quickly with particular students. Teachers have to be careful to continually make this request in a calm voice that does not express irritation. When teachers express irritation, they do not preserve the dignity of the student and send a powerful message to the other students that their classmate is “trouble.”


September 28, 2009. Uncategorized.


  1. Bill Bartmann replied:

    There’s good info here. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog. Keep up the good work mate!

  2. Angie Carroccio replied:

    I believe that the “Take a Break” desk/table is a good idea in theory, but it is used far too frequently. It is, as you said, used with the same students over and over again- but what is it teaching them? It IS teaching the other students that this particular kid is the ‘bad’ kid, and it’s oftentimes used as a way to shame students. I see it as the modern-day way of putting a dunce cap on a student’s head and making him/her sit in the corner. I also find it to be less than effective because the same few kids are sent there a number of times each day! Kids catch on very quickly that the worst that’s going to happen is that they’re sent to the “Take a Break” desk. Especially the kids who realize that they’re going to get the attention that they want when they are sent there. I’ve never liked using the “Take a Break” desk/table, and I never will.

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