5 Ways Montessori Teachers Are Different
Montessori teachers aren’t like traditional teachers, and you will notice right away. You won’t see an adult up front lecturing while students passively listen. Instead, you will see a dynamic environment with the students as the focal point. Within this unique classroom setting, the teacher’s role is quiet yet extremely important.
Montessori teachers function as guides for each of their students’ individual learning paths. It takes a sharp focus and a great investment of energy to manage each child’s developmental journey. A Montessori guide monitors each of her students’ progress through the curriculum. With this information, she creates optimal learning opportunities for them at just the right moment.
A typical Montessori classroom will have children directing their own activities at small tables or rugs. A guide may sit back and observe his work. She will be noting his progress and deciding when he is ready to move to the next level of difficulty.
Montessori guides observe quietly, often out of the child’s line of sight. Maria Montessori wrote about how the smallest distraction from adults could completely distract an engaged child. She urged teachers not to disturb a child’s focus, not even with praise.
Preparers of the Environment
The prepared environment is a defining aspect of the Montessori classroom. The room is set up to best meet the children’s developmental needs. As they progress, their needs change and the environment must reflect this. The job of deciding when to make these adjustments and carrying them out falls to the guide. Montessori Teachers are different in the way they prepare the classroom.
At the start of a term, the classroom is set up to meet the general needs of its age group. This requires the teacher to know a lot about the usual readiness and common interests of students in her age group. As the year goes on, she will learn about the unique passions each child possesses. She will also monitor their academic progress. This knowledge will inform how she prepares the room and when she introduces new materials.
Individual and Small Group Lessons
You won’t generally see whole class lessons in a Montessori classroom. Every child develops according to his own pace. Therefore, it is most effective to teach new lessons to each student as they become ready.
During class time, guides will either observe students for readiness or they will present lessons to students. Lessons are presented individually or in small groups. In a preschool classroom, a teacher might introduce the dressing frames right when they see a child beginning to become interested in buttoning his own jacket. Or they might play I Spy games with a small group of children who can identify beginning sounds.
Montessori Teachers are Different Because They Allow Space For Students To Construct Their Learning
We often think of teachers as responsible for letting kids know if they are right or wrong. Montessori guides will not do this. Firstly, the materials are designed to be self-correcting. That way, the student already knows if he has completed a work correctly. For example, if he is lining up rods from longest to shortest, he will see if he has missed one once he has finished.
Montessori guides hold back from correcting an apparent mistake, and instead, let the child discover it on his own. Learning is most effective when the student guides the process. Noticing his own errors and correcting them empowers and encourages the child.
Montessori guides use a form of discipline that uses neither punishment nor rewards. Instead, the guide encourages the children with a skill-based approach to behavior and ensures a developmentally appropriate setting.
Positive discipline assumes the child’s goodwill. Misbehaviors are interpreted as
communication; the guide investigates what is behind any poor conduct. She works with the students to help them behave appropriately.
Much of what a Montessori teacher does is not immediately apparent. However, they are the ones who orchestrate these perfectly harmonious learning environments. If you notice the students before their teacher, that is a sure sign of a job done well. These are five quick ways Montessori Teachers are different than traditional teachers.