The Montessori Method is based Dr. Maria Montessori's understanding of children's natural learning tendencies. Children in Montessori classrooms are encouraged to work at their own optimum levels. There is an emphasis on beauty and orderliness in the Montessori environment. The Montessori Method provokes a spontaneous love of learning since the child is given the freedom to make many of her own choices. Ultimately, Montessori teachers must eliminate obstacles that inhibit the child's natural development.
Montessori teachers are called upon to be passive observers. A Montessori teacher must continually observe children to see what motivates each one individually. He must examine each child in order to understand his learning style. The Montessori teacher must also observe how each child interacts with others, works in his environment and manipulates each activity. He must find specific interests in each child so that he can cultivate those interests.
A Montessori teacher keeps track of observations of children using a variety of methods. He keeps records using objective narratives and anecdotes about situations that occur in the classroom. He may also use a checklist or a flow chart, which helps record a child's progress through the Montessori program. In order to complete a truly comprehensive representation of the child's progress, the Montessori teacher makes use of a combination of record keeping methods.
Another role of the Montessori teacher is that of director or facilitator. He guides the students toward experiences with practical learning materials and activities that foster sensory investigation. He must allow the child to learn from his errors and to intervene only when the child asks for help. The Montessori teacher is responsible for nurturing motivation, self-discipline and confidence in students. The Montessori teacher facilitates communication among the children and assists students in learning how to communicate with adults.
The Montessori teacher must evaluate patterns of growth, development and behavior in his students. He evaluates a child's strengths and weaknesses in order to establish how best to nurture the child. The Montessori teacher evaluates the areas in which the child is proficient so that he can advance the child to the next lesson and present activities based upon the child's requirements. He also evaluates in order to provide necessary referrals and suggestions to parents.
- Montessori International Index: Frequently Asked Questions
- The University of Michigan; Montessori Education
- North American Montessori Centers: Montessori Teacher Training
- Early Child Research & Practice; Beginning the Journey: Three Approaches from Europe: Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia; Carolyn Pope Edwards
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