Essay 1 - Role of the Educator

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“To stimulate life, – leaving it then free to develop, to unfold, - herein lies the first task of the educator. In such a delicate task, a great art must suggest the moment, and limit the intervention in order that we shall arouse no perturbation, cause no deviation, but rather that we shall help the soul which is coming into the fullness of life, and which shall live from its own forces. This art must accompany the scientific method.” Dr.Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method

Comment on the above statement and explain your understanding of the role of the educator in assisting the child in his development.

“Truly there is an urgent need today of reforming the methods of instruction and education, and he who aims at such a renewal is struggling for the regeneration of mankind.” Dr. Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child, Ch. 1, Page No. 19 The founder of the Montessori Method of Education, Dr. Maria Montessori was one of the most influential pioneers in early childhood education, who devised a method of education which combines a philosophy with practical approach based on the central idea of freedom for the child within a carefully planned and structured environment. Dr. Maria Montessori revolutionised the field of education by recognising the importance of the first six years of development of a child and introduced a child centric method of education which eventually helps the child to unfold his hidden potentialities. Dr. Montessori left the world a wonderful legacy: a philosophy of life, a unique method of education, which gives children the best possible foundation of life. Thus, her method has become a part of every teacher training course. Her success was so great that she travelled the world establishing schools and lecturing about her discoveries. Her books have been translated in 22 languages and have been appreciated worldwide. Dr. Montessori was born in Chiaravalle in the province of Ancona, Italy on 31st August, 1870. Her father Alessandro Montessori, a former military man, was conservative but a true gentleman. Maria’s mother Renilde Stoppani, niece of great philosopher, scientist, priest Antonio Stoppani, was from an academic family. She was highly literate and she encouraged Maria’s pursuit of career. It was her mother’s questioning intellectualism that provided Maria with the intellectual and moral fibre to break out of the traditional mould of passive Italian womanhood. At age of 12 Maria along with her parents moved to Rome in order to receive better education. Maria had an aptitude for Mathematics and she wanted to pursue a career in engineering. At the age of thirteen she was permitted to enter the college Regia Scuala Technical Micheangelo Buonarotti. At the age of sixteen in 1886 she graduated and got admission in the Technical Institute. There she excelled in Mathematics, Natural Science and Modern languages and qualified to join the university. In 1892, at the age of 22 Maria began the medical degree course. Despite all the obstacles she became the first woman in Italy to receive a degree of doctorate in Medicine in 1896.When she was doing her medical course the incident of an old rag picker with a child playing with a red scrap paper with tremendous concentration altered the course of her life.Soon after graduating she was appointed as the assistant doctor at the psychiatric clinic at the University of Rome. It is here that she started taking interest in feeble minded children. Her special interest in these children led her to study the work of Jean Itard and Edouard Seguin. She was very much influenced by these great thinkers and using their work Dr. Montessori began to formulate her ideas to help these children learn and thus started her research in the field of Pedagogy. Dr. Montessori’s got her first chance to observe and work with normal children in January 1907 with opening of the first school "Casa dei Bambini" in San Lorenzo,a slum district in Rome. It was also known as...
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