Parents touring a Montessori school will notice many differences between this model and the model followed by conventional public schools. One of the most significant differences is the role of the teacher. Maria Montessori’s Method positions the teacher to be a guide, rather than a lecturer. The teacher moves about the classroom, stepping in to assist when needed, and stepping back to let students work. This approach cultivates each student’s independence and critical thinking skills.
The Teacher as a Presenter
Montessori teachers usually present lessons in small groups or one-on-one. Far less time is devoted to large group lessons. These lessons are typically brief, and leave plenty of room for children to explore on their own. Since Montessori education embraces hands-on learning materials, a typical lesson will involve presenting the name of the materials, how to use them, and where to find them in the classroom. Then, students will work by themselves or in small groups as they explore the activity.
The Teacher as a Guide
You may hear your child’s Montessori teacher refer to him- or herself as a guide. In a conventional classroom, the teacher at the front of the classroom is the center of attention. He or she talks much of the time, calls on students, and answers questions. In a Montessori classroom, the students are the main focus . The teacher moves among them, observing and helping as needed. When a student needs help, Montessori teachers are trained to help students work through the puzzle. They avoid giving the student the answers, as this wouldn’t be supporting the student’s learning process.
The Teacher as an Observer
Montessori schools eschew grades, but this doesn’t mean that students’ progress isn’t recorded. Montessori teachers are trained to carefully observe each student’s learning activities, strengths, weaknesses, and interests. These observations aren’t passive, and they may lead to adjustments in the environment or teaching methods in order to cultivate the child’s true potential.
The Montessori School provides our students with a carefully planned environment and nurturing, highly trained educators who support each child’s individual identity. Our private elementary school accepts applications for enrollment throughout the year. Call our campus in North Dallas at (972) 985-8844 or in Allen at (972) 727-2800.