Montessori - the Human Tendencies

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The Human Tendencies

“The love of activity, the yearning for freedom, the urge for obedience, the impulse to confirm to laws which are at the heart of all creation – these qualities make man the unparalleled work of Nature” (Montessori, M., From Childhood To Adolescence, 1973)

Discuss the eight human tendencies as developed by Dr. Montessori and her followers. Show how children show these tendencies during the three main stages of development. Discuss how you think knowledge of human tendencies helps us when educating children. Give examples to support your answer

One of the greatest discoveries made by Dr. Montessori was that all humans love certain tendencies of behaviour patterns. No matter where we live, no matter what our culture or ethnicity, we all follow the same natural laws that lead us to act or react in specific ways. We are all driven to communicate, socialise, initiate, explore, move, be exact, concentrate, repeat, discover order, achieve independence, personalise perfection, control ourselves and our work. Human tendencies are present at all ages of our lives but some are stronger than others during different development periods. The tendencies also vary in the way and strength in which they appear in different people but they all exist. And it is these tendencies which guide our development; which direct us to take or not to take a given action. What does Dr. Montessori mean by the word “Tendency”?

A dictionary definition of the word is
“A predisposition to think, act, behave or proceed in a particular way” (Oxford English Dictionary).
Dr. Montessori noted that it was important that the correct environment was provided for each stage in order to allow the tendencies to be fulfilled. Human tendencies are creative impulses that guide human beings in the development of broad potentialities. Dr. Montessori believed that children are born with incredible learning potential and a desire to explore, discover and learn about their world. She believed that all children are born with potentialities, the ability to crawl, to walk, to talk etc. It is the human tendencies that guide them to these potentials.

What are the “Human Tendencies”? Dr. Montessori identified eight areas:

This is the human tendency to explore and find out about our world and universe. [pic]
Children are naturally curious and love to use their senses to learn more about the world around them. Our life around us is filled with sounds, scents, textures, tastes and colours. In the first stage children explore their immediate environment. As a baby the first few months you can explore by hearing sounds and seeing colours. As you grow exploration comes by tasting different foods, feeling different textures. A child likes to explore with his hands more than anything. 6 – 12 years old the child explores by going out or by researching. This age of child loves exploring nature, going to the woods or going to the sea. As they grow they find more interest in searching the internet to increase their knowledge and they start to have a greater interest in personal and sexual relationships.. They explore society to try to find their own role in life.

“There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them, in a real forest”. Maria Montessori (1870 - 1952)

Source: From Childhood to Adolescence (page 19)

This is the human tendency to want to know where we are in space, in time and in the structures of nature and of...
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