Role and Responsibilities of a Teacher in Montessori
The Montessori teacher plays an important role in the Montessori environment. The teacher needs to acquire a deeper sense of the dignity of the child as a human being, a new appreciation of the significance of his spontaneous activities, a wider and thorough understanding of his needs. The most essential part of the teacher is that the teacher should go through spiritual preparation. The moral preparation is necessary before one is fit to be entrusted with the care of the children in a principle hitherto chiefly confined to members of religious orders.
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According to Montessori such preparation should be first step in the training of every teacher whatever nationality or creed. She must purify her heart and render it burning with charity towards the child. She must learn to appreciate and should gather all those tiny and delicate manifestation of the opening life in the Childs soul. The teacher must be initiated, he must begin by studying his own defects, his own evil tendencies rather than by being excessively pre occupied with a “child’s tendencies, “with the manner of “correcting a Childs mistakes,” or even with the effects of original sin. “First remove the beam from your own eye and then you will see clearly how to remove the speck from the eye of the child”. The secret of childhood. pg. no. 149. The first step an intending Montessori teacher must take is to prepare herself. She must always keep her imagination alive and when she begins her work she must have a kind of faith and she must free herself from all preconceived ideas concerning the levels at which the children may be. (Meaning they are more or less deviated) must not worry her.
The teacher, when she begins work in our schools, must have a kind faith that the child will reveal himself through work, she must free herself from all preconceived ideas concerning the levels at which the children may be. ” The Absorbent Mind pg. 276. In The Absorbent Mind (pp. 277-81), Maria Montessori offered some general principles of behavior for teachers in the Montessori classroom. * “The teacher becomes the keeper and custodian of the environment. She attends to this instead of being distracted by the children’s restlessness. . . All the apparatus is to be kept meticulously in order, beautiful and shining, in perfect condition. . . . This means that the teacher also must be attractive pleasing in appearance tidy and clean, calm and dignified. . . . The teacher’s appearance is the first step to gaining the Childs confidence because the child of this age idealizes his mother. The teacher’s first duty is therefore to watch over the environment, and this takes precedence over all the rest. Its influence is indirect, but unless it is well done there will be no effective and permanent results of any kind, physical, intellectual or spiritual. * “The teacher must . . . entice the children. . . . The teacher, in this first period, before concentration has shown itself, must be like the flame, which heartens all by its warmth, enlivens and invites. There is no need to fear that she will interrupt some important psychic process, since these have not yet begun. Before concentration occurs, the Montessori teacher may do more or less what she thinks well; she can interfere with the children’s activities as she deems necessary. . . She can tell stories, have some games and singing, use nursery rhymes and poetry. The teacher who has a gift for charming the children can have them do various exercises, which, even if they have no great value educationally, are useful in calming them. Everyone knows that a lively teacher attracts more than a dull one, and we can all be lively if we try. . . . If at this stage there is some child who persistently annoys the others, the most practical thing to do is interrupt him . . . to break the flow of disturbing activity.
The interruption may take the form of any kind of exclamation, or in showing a special and affectionate interest in the troublesome child. ” * “Finally the time comes in which the children begin to take an interest in something: usually, in the exercises of Practical Life, for experience shows that it is useless and harmful to give the children Sensorial and Cultural apparatus before they are ready to benefit from it. Before introducing this kind of material, one must wait until the children have acquired the power to concentrate on something, and usually . . this occurs with the exercises of Practical Life. When the child begins to show interest in one of these, the teacher must not interrupt, because this interest corresponds with natural laws and opens up a whole cycle of new activities. . . . The teacher, now, must be most careful. Not to interfere means not to interfere in any way. This is the moment at which the teacher most often goes wrong. The child, who up to that moment has been very difficult, finally concentrates on a piece of work. . . Praise, help, or even a look, may be enough to interrupt him, or destroy the activity. It seems a strange thing to say, but this can happen even if the child merely becomes aware of being watched. . . . The great principle that brings success to the teacher is this: as soon as concentration has begun, act as if the child does not exist. . . . The duty of the teacher is only to present new things when she knows that a child has exhausted all the possibilities of those he was using before. ” An important task of the teacher is careful observation.
The teacher should guide each child, introducing materials, and assisting where needed and she should make sure that all the material necessary for children at a particular stage of development is available for them to use. This helps the teacher prepare the environment with the child’s interest in mind. The teacher is constantly alert to the direction in which the child is going, and actively works to help the child achieve their goals. The Montessori teacher facilitates the classroom activities, carefully planning the environment, and helping progress from one activity to the next.
The teacher must be aware of the need for day-to- day preparation of the environment. They should make sure the room is clean and fresh, and it is adequately heated in winter, and cool and airy in summer and there should be various pictures displayed on the walls, flowers are changed daily or not and the calendar is changed regularly. Montessori professionals are trained to deal with each child individually. This is often called “following the child”. A Montessori teacher often stands back while the child is working, allowing them to gain satisfaction in their own discoveries.
Montessori tools promote motor skills as well as development of the mind. This idea allows students to think critically about the solution, rather than just sit back the formula or method that his or her teacher dictated. The Montessori teacher embodies these ideas and creates in the child the feeling of confidence and accomplishment. Montessori teachers are not the center of attention in the classroom. Their role centers on the preparation and organization of learning materials to meet the needs and interests of the Montessori children.
The focus is on children learning, not on teachers teaching. Dr. Montessori believed that the teacher should focus on the child as a person rather than on the daily lesson plans. Although the Montessori teacher plans daily lessons for each child, she must be alert to changes in the child’s interest, progress, mood, and behavior. Montessori teachers are scientific observers of children. They avoid using rewards and punishments for good or poor work. Montessori teachers never criticize or interfere in a child’s work. It is only in a trusting atmosphere that a child’s personality has room to grow.
Children must have the freedom to choose their own activities and learn to behave without restriction. Dr. Montessori thought this was real work and that the child would reveal his/her true nature once he/she found work that commanded his/her full attention. Anne Burke Neubert, in A Way of Learning (1973), listed the following elements in the special role of the Montessori teacher: * Montessori teachers are the dynamic link between children and the Prepared Environment. * They systematically observe their students and interpret their needs. They are constantly experimenting, modifying the environment to meet their perceptions of each child’s needs and interests, and objectively noting the result. * They prepare an environment meant to facilitate children’s independence and ability to freely select work that they find appealing, selecting activities that will appeal to their interests and keeping the environment in perfect condition, adding to it and removing materials as needed. * They carefully evaluate the effectiveness of their work and the design of the environment every day. They observe and evaluate each child’s individual progress. * They respect and protect their students’ independence. They must know when to step in and set limits or lend a helping hand, and when it is in a child’s best interests for them to step back and not interfere. * They are supportive, offering warmth, security, stability, and non-judgmental acceptance to each child. * They facilitate communication among the children and help the children to learn how to communicate their thoughts to adults. They interpret the children’s progress and their work in the classroom to parents, the school staff, and the community. * They present clear, interesting and relevant lessons to the children. They attempt to engage the child’s interest and focus on the lessons and activities in the environment. * They model desirable behavior for the children, following the ground-rules of the class, exhibiting a sense of calm, consistency, grace and courtesy, and demonstrating respect for every child. * They are peace educators, consistently working to teach courteous behaviors and conflict. They are diagnosticians who can interpret patterns of growth, development, and behavior in order to better understand the children and make necessary referrals and suggestions to parents. The role of a Montessori teacher is that of an observer whose ultimate goal is to intervene less and less as the child develops. The teacher creates an atmosphere of calm, order and joy in the classroom and is there to help and encourage the children in all their efforts, allowing them to develop self-confidence and inner discipline.
With the younger students at each level, the teacher is more active, demonstrating the use of materials and presenting activities based on an assessment of the child’s requirements. Knowing how to observe constructively and when, and how much, to intervene, is one of the most important talents the Montessori teacher acquires during a rigorous course of training at AMI training centers throughout the world. The role of a Montessori Directress is the vital link between that of the child and the environment.
Under her guidance a child will develop both as a person and intellectually to reach their full potential and become the man of the future. “She is the main connecting link between the material that is the objects and the child”. Maria Montessori It is the Directress’ role is to prepare a beautiful and enticing environment which will welcome the child in and provide a safe, calm and peaceful atmosphere in which they can learn. She must carefully arrange the room with child size furnishings and must ensure that all the educational materials are on display for a child to see in an orderly fashion.
The apparatus should be stimulating, purposeful and invoke… * Montessori philosophy purports that children learn best when they choose their own activities, within a richly educative environment. The duties of a Montessori teacher are to observe and assess children’s individual abilities and interests in order to provide an environment that stimulates and challenges them to learn. A Montessori teacher gives children opportunities to make their own discoveries, instead of telling them how to do something or giving them answers to problems.
He or she also encourages children to feel at ease when they make a mistake, and to see mistakes as opportunities for further learning. * The duties of a Montessori teacher are to encourage a child’s enthusiasm for learning and natural work ethic. The Montessori approach gives children time to develop their concentration because a Montessori teacher remains sensitive to the focus of a child’s attention. If a child is engrossed in an activity, a Montessori teacher will not disturb that concentration unnecessarily.
The Montessori approach of mixed age groups enables younger children to learn from older children, and older children to learn by teaching the younger ones. It also enables each child to progress at his or her own pace. * The duties of a Montessori teacher are to prepare a calm, organized and stimulating learning environment for children, allowing them to move freely within appropriate guidelines and to work as part of a social group. A teacher using the Montessori Method demonstrates the use of learning resources and materials to the children.
The function of these materials is to help children develop essential cognitive skills. Teachers using the Montessori Method place children aged between 2 months and 3 years in a nurturing, homey environment that will help them develop cognitive, language, social and physical skills. The Montessori Method places older children in classroom settings of mixed age groups: 3 to 6 years, 6 to 9 years and 9 to 12 years. 1. The Montessori teacher is the dynamic link between the child and the Prepared Environment. 2.
She is a systematic observer of the child and an interpreter of his needs. 3. She is an experimenter, tailoring the environment to meet his perceptions of the child’s needs and interests, and objectively noting the results. 4. The Montessori teacher is a programmer, preparing the environment and keeping in perfect condition, adding to it and removing materials as needed. 5. She is an evaluator, judging the effectiveness of her own work and the environment every day. She must also evaluate the progress of each child. 6. She respects and protects the child.
She must know when to step in and set limits or lend a helping hand, and when it is in the child’s best interests to step back and not interfere. 7. The Montessori teacher is a supporter, offering warmth, security, stability, and non-judgemental acceptance to each child. 8. She is a facilitator of communication among the children and of the child’s effort to communicate with her. She must also interpret the child’s progress and her work to parents, the school staff, and the community. 9. She is a demonstrator, presenting clear, interesting and relevant lessons to the child.
Her role is to seduce the child into spontaneous fascination with the materials through her demonstrations. 10. The Montessori teacher is a consistent good example of desirable behaviour for the children, following the ground-rules of the class herself, and exhibiting a sense of calm, consistency, grace and courtesy, and demonstrating respect for every child. 11. She is a peacemaker, consistently working to teach courteous behaviours and conflict resolution. 12. The Montessori teacher is a diagnostician, able to interpret the patterns of diversity, and non-judgemental acceptance to each child.