SYLLABUS OF NCDC MONTESSORI THEORY 2- MONTESSORI PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION Unit 4 THE DISCOVERIES OF DR. MARIA: DAY 7-8

Pre Home Assignments

Learning Activity 1: Read passage & Meditate: Should read the passage in this unit minimum 3 times. After reading each paragraph, close your eyes & think about the paragraph content for a few minutes. Also do the preparations for the Live Class Lesson Activities.

Learning Activities for Live Class Session:

Learning Activity 1: Pair Talk: Two pupils sit face to face and talk about sense development practices they got at the time of their school study.

Learning Activity 2: Imaginary Activity practice with closed eyes: Sub: The Silent Game in a Montessori school by using all five imaginary senses.

Learning Activity 3: Face to face Interview: Two pupils sit face to face like a TV interview. One acts as Dr. Montessori. The other one asks questions about discovering 5 senses. After one round change the pair and continue the practice.

Learning Activity 4: Skit: The Silent game in Montessori school.

Learning Activity 5: Speech: Write the 14 Discoveries of Dr. Montessori in a small piece of paper. Fold or roll and keep them together. Let one trainee pick one from the lotto pick and give a speech about that for about three minutes. After that remove from the lotto and continue the process with remaining trainees. One student can be the anchor of the Program.

Learning Activity 6: Group Discussion: Arrange a Group Discussion like in TV. All students are participating in the discussion.
Round 1: Purpose and objectives of learning and practicing the content in this theory unit
Round 2: How to apply the knowledge and the ideas in this unit in your life, career and in society.

Learning Activity 7: Learning activity as per students’ choice. Conduct a learning activity as per the choice of lesson activities coordinating group.

Self-Home Assignments & with classmates:

Learning Activity 1: Self Speech in front of Mirror: Do a Self-Speech about 10 life lessons of Dr. Montessori in front of the mirror by following all the formalities and techniques of public speech.

Learning Activity 2: Face to face Interview: Two pupils sit face to face like a TV interview. One acts as Dr. Montessori. The other one asks questions about discovering 5 senses. Faculty prepare the list & put it in the group.

Learning Activity 3: Pair Talk: Two pupils sit face to face and talk about sense development practices they got at the time of their school study. Faculty prepare the list & put it in the group.

Learning Activity 4: Self Speech in front of Mirror: Do a Self-Speech regarding the below topic in front of the mirror by following all the formalities and techniques of public speech:
Topic: 14 Discoveries of Dr. Montessori

Learning Activity 5: Self Speech in front of Mirror: Do a Self-Speech regarding observing ‘Silence Game’ in a Montessori school by following all the formalities and techniques of public speech. Topic: 14 Discoveries of Dr. Montessori

Individual & pair learning activities as Post Home Assignments:

Learning Activity 1: Brief Idea: Tell a brief idea about Dr. Maria Montessori’s Educational Methodology in English to your English fluent friend.

Learning Activity 2: Make Chart: Write the 14 discoveries of Dr. Maria Montessori’s in a Chart paper in an attractive way.

Discover the Five Senses: The materials Maria developed are central to her methods. They are vital to the learning process. All the ‘sensory materials’ were designed to give children a lot of experiences through the five senses: Sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. Senses are the gateways to the mind, to the intellect. There is nothing in the intellect which has not come through the senses.

Cylindrical Blocks, Pink Tower, Brown Stairs, Long Stairs, Tactile Material & Geometrical Insets and Cards, Color Tablets, Noise Boxes, Baric Tablets, Letter Cards and drawing Insects are some of the important didactic apparatus which Maria Montessori introduced into her methods of teaching and learning process. Each set of these materials teaches a different concept such as measurement, counting or volume. Using these sensory materials, three or four year old children are able to teach themselves mathematical and geometrical concepts. Usually these concepts are taught to teenage students in traditional schools. Learning through the use of the above materials, through the senses, seems to give the children a greater ability to tackle these concepts. The children are allowed to experiment with the materials once they have been shown how to use them. Quite often, they learn this from each other.

We all think and believe children love sounds and noise. But Maria Montessori discovered that children love silence. Children have great love for silence. We find it hard to believe this, so did her critics. How much noise do we hear when we pass by a children’s playground!

Now let us hear the story of Maria by which she proved Children love silence. One day she brought a sleeping baby into the Children’s House. Everybody’s attention was brought to the silent condition of the sleeping baby. Maria challenged the children whether they could be so very silent. They all tried to be silent. Soon there was pin-drop silence! The room was absolutely still. Each one sat motionless, learning to control breathing, no coughing, no sneezing, no movements, not even opening their eyes. Every one took on the calm and serene look of a person in deep meditation. Maria’s comment on this is that they were quiet and still, not because she asked but because they were really enjoying the silence. This led her to develop ‘the silence game’ which was frequently played in the children’s House. Here it is: ‘while the children are working with the sensory materials, the teacher puts up a notice: ‘SILENCE’ as the children notice it, they put down whatever things they have: pencils, letters, Rods, Counters, Cylinders and everything. In no time they become motionless, a clam and peace spread over the room. The teacher walks quietly to the children, opens it quietly and goes out without any sound. Then there are sounds of silence: ticking of a clock, sound of a distant train or bus, the twitter of birds in the garden, a door banging in a remote corridor, far off strains of music etc. After a few silent moments, the teacher would softly call the names of children one by one. Then the child as he is called rises to his feet. Very slowly and very cautiously he lifts his little chair and replaces it on the floor without a sound. Now he begins to thread his way in and out amongst the little tables until he vanishes through the open door. Another child rises. Then one by one they all rise and disappear”

This silence game demonstrates how much children enjoy silence and will make a great deal of effort to preserve it. Children’s love for silence goes back to before they were born and brought suddenly from the silence of the womb into a world of noise and sounds. The keynote of Maria Montessori’s education and personality was to give children, the new generations a chance to be peaceful, calm and organized within them. Her aim and purpose was to bring about a more peace loving and calm generation for the future. In other words, we have to make a better peaceful world without terrorism and war. Listening to silence is another Montessori’s exercise. Silence, Maria wrote, often brings us knowledge which we had not fully realized that we possess within ourselves an inner life. While conventional, traditional teachers enforced silence with canes, Maria turned silence into a game and used it to reveal to children a lost world of quiet sound.

The Montessori concept of silence differs from that of ordinary schools. In ordinary schools it is always thought that silence is to be obtained by command. Silence means stoppage of noise, action or reaction, disorder and confusion. It is the state in which the behavior of the students makes it possible for the teacher to give a lesson. No thought is given to the meaning of the word. It is not realized that there is a need for immobility or a suspension of life for a moment to be realized. It is the will which separates and isolates the soul from the ordinary sounds of external voices.

This is a silence which can be achieved in the Montessori schools. It is profound silence produced in a class of more than forty little children between the ages of three and six. A command would never be able to produce the marvellous union of will in checking every act in a period of life when movement seems natural and irresistible and collective action is attained by the very children who have been accustomed to their quest for inner satisfaction.

In ordinary schools, the teacher might have to strictly command or shout in order to maintain the silence in the classroom, but whereas in the Montessori schools, to teach Children silence the adult makes them go through various exercises of silence which add greatly to their remarkable ability to discipline themselves. The teacher attracts the attention of the children to herself as she becomes silent. As the children watch she sits so silent and motionless that even the moving of the fingers could produce a noise. She breathes so softly that her breath can barely be heard. Everything must be absolutely silent. This is not easy. Once the children have understood she invites a Child to act as she did. In order to attain control over the body, we look for a precise factor. It is an indicative factor which concerns the hearing; it is indicative because there is no impression of sound. In order to find this silence, in order to attain it, we have to keep ourselves completely still without any movement including the breath. It means total control of all movements and sounds. It is seeking out the elimination of all voices, which requires the accord of all. If one person makes any sound the silence is no longer perfect. Therefore, in order to carry out a silence lesson, it is essential to obtain the consent of each child. This is of fundamental importance. Because all individual education is an inner functioning of the will, to be conscious of what is asked, to say yes since we accept it and want to do it. It appears to be a small thing but it is the basis of successful education. Children become calmer with the silence lesson. Once the children participate in the silence lesson they instinctively try to carry out their actions in silence, unlike the children in the traditional schools.

The purpose of the silence lesson is not that the children should do everything in silence. However, little by little the children become more careful in their movements. The silence discipline is connected with the child’s own soul and not with the will of an outside person. If we infuse the spirit of silence into the child’s environment, it renders a discipline independent of the teacher. The discipline, the silence and calm, all become free expressions. The flowering of discipline is thus the result of growth; it is a spiritual development.

MONTESSORI’S DISCOVERIES

1. Children love to work and learn purposefully.
2. To satisfy inner needs there is an urge and interest. When a work is done with interest, repetition is the result. When spontaneous repetition is done with interest, the natural result is concentration. Children work with concentration when they are in the right environment.
3. Children need order for their development, not only in the environment but also in values, function and other human activities.
4. Children need freedom to choose the activity they need to perform.
5. Activity is essential. Normality depended on all the human powers working in union.
6. Developmental activities belonged to areas that the child needed for building his personality.
7. Several topics considered too high for little children were found necessary for the child’s total development if given in a suitable form.
8. Discipline need not be enforced. Children manage their individual lives. They show independence in their control of errors, love for silence and indifference to rewards or punishments.
9. Children live and let others live, helping others, co-operating with them. Absence of Adults (Teachers) does not influence their discipline. Freedom and discipline are two faces of the same coin.
10. Real obedience is based on love, respect and faith. Real obedience becomes real development.
11. Children behave in a certain manner – destructive, disorderly, stubborn, disobedient etc. In a prepared environment, with a trained adult, children show orderly, responsible, loving behaviour etc.
12. Most of the activities presented to children in a Montessori School are discoveries: The Silence activity, Exercises of practical life, walking on the line.
13. All the help we offer to children should lead them to independence in their individual and social life.
14. The especially ‘Prepared Environment’ is perhaps the greatest discovery in which almost all other discoveries and findings are put into practice.

Module Developed by: Baba Alexander

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