March 30, 2015

Montessori Monday: Help Me 2 Help Myself

I recently came across a math problem that I needed to find the exact measurement. I used everything I knew to tried to figured it out, I would even get numbers that appeared right but were somewhat off. I was determined to find the answer. After much research, light bulbs and wheels turned in my head.  I arrived at the answer after trying it out multiple times!  How did I know I was right? A friend with savvy math knowledge glanced over and smiled. And there before my eyes, I experienced Montessori.

Not only did I get it, but what an amazing feeling I got from it. I realized the importance of independent learning through real work. As an educator, of course I know that's important! But I lived it to remember and that changed everything. However, the joy quickly took a path of its own.  It brought to my attention my teaching practices in my own classroom.

As a teacher, I find myself caught up in the pressure trying to teach it all, especially in a public school, that I forget the most essential part, the child . The great news is that Maria Montessori wrote about these types of issues. Her advice has been to "help the child to act for himself, will for himself and to think for himself." And she is absolutely right! By figuring out that mumbo jumbo of a math problem, it was proof that intellectually we all possess innate knowledge to help us make sense of the world.  

I reached the conclusion that I needed to observe for signs of readiness. And just how I was allowed to make my own discovery, children need that opportunity as well to grow. It was time for me to be at the sideline, observing them and them knowing that I am just a called away. 

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