This is one of the great questions that Montessori teachers receive, and of course which has many answers.
Recently, I received this question from a visitor who had spent time watching one of our converted Montessori classrooms. The visitor was surprised to see the teacher sitting and watching keenly on the children and seemed to be taking notes rather than teaching. This gesture did not appear comfortable to the visitor who expected to see the teacher taking control of the teachings.
This also reminded me one of Dr. Maria Montessori quotes that “Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but experiences in the environment” –
Teaching in a Montessori classroom does not involve the teacher taking the lead or being the focal point in every lesson or activity. This is one aspect that is misunderstood by many who get a chance to observe at any Montessori classroom.
Montessori teachers do not teach, instead they are thoroughly trained to observe and guide the children to explore and teach themselves.
|SayamaYin Yin OO keenly observing her class in Myanmar|
The Montessori teachers are also trained to prepare an attractive environment that connects and calls for the child’s attention to direct their own learning. With the use of fun activities, Montessori teachers also demonstrates and models to children on how to conduct themselves in the classroom as members of the same family, while being aware of each child’s needs at a particular moment.
Observation is the first task of a Montessori teacher which requires preparations and an ongoing cycle to see through all the happenings in the classroom. Through observations, the teachers are able to get development picture for each child at a given moment. And therefore, Montessori teachers know so well when to step back on the observation chair to observe, and this somehow answered the visitor’s question.