The following essay should describe the Role of a Teacher within the specially Prepared Environment as defined by Maria Montessori in her years of observation. In a Montessori School, the word Teacher is not used as Directress is used instead. In her writings, Maria Montessori used the word “Direttoressa” taken from the Italian word “direttore” which when looking into the meaning of the word is less about telling people what to do but more about steering people in the right direction. It is not only used for teacher but also for conductor, editors and managers. The word “Directress” which is used today was first used in translation of the book The Montessori Method in 1912 by the American, Anne Everett George. If we look again at the meaning of the Directress referred to above, it is the perfect description of the Role of a Montessori Teacher. Not to tell the child what they should be doing but to guide them in the right direction in pursuit of self –understanding, knowledge, Independence and development into adulthood. For the role of a directress is an inactive one; as the active learning must come from the child.
The Role of the Teacher
The role of a Montessori Directress is the vital link between that of the child and the environment. Under her guidance a child will develop both as a person and intellectually to reach their full potential and become the man of the future. “She is the main connecting link between the material, that is the objects, and the child”. Maria Montessori It is the Directress’ role is to prepare a beautiful and enticing environment which will welcome the child in and provide a safe, calm and peaceful atmosphere in which they can learn. She must carefully arrange the room with child size furnishings and must ensure that all the educational materials are on display for a child to see in an orderly fashion. The apparatus should be stimulating, purposeful and invoke problem solving. They should be interesting to the child for them to explore. The Directress has numerous tasks to undertake but her primary goal is to observe the child and guide him through progression. She must observe the stage of the child and then select the apparatus for which he is ready and to present it to him in an enticing manner. The presentation should include returning the item to the shelf. If he has no interest, it maybe that the child is not ready and another item should be introduced. The child is then free to use the materials independently within the constraints of the selected item. All the while, the observation is taking place; detailed notes should be taken for reference. These should help to establish whether the child is ready to move on to the next stage of development. She should have full knowledge of each piece of apparatus so that she is fully acquainted with it. She should experiment, putting herself in the place of the child and try to see how they would make discoveries and what their perceptions might be. As the Directress is now an adult, the ability to absorb unconsciously has lessened, as the conscious mind has matured, therefore any impressions they may make from this exercise would not be absolute. She should have the patience to keep repeating the exercise so that she is able to “measure in herself the energy and endurance possessed by a child of a determined age”. Maria Montessori. The reason for doing this is so that the Directress would be able to decide the level of competency required for each piece of apparatus and know at what stage in a child’s development it should be demonstrated. In doing so too early, may upset their learning or if too late, may lead to boredom. This presentation is called “The Fundamental Lesson”. The Directress should also instill a sense of order not only to the classroom and the materials within but also within the child itself. A child should know: * The basic rules of the classroom to...