Essay on the DirectressThe directress is a trained adult in a Montessori environment. She is an educator who assists the child in course of his fundamental development for him to live the way he is meant to live and to help unfold the child??™s development.
She guides the natural energies of the child to attain maximum potentiality and to bring out the best in him. She has to have the right assistancial approach towards the child and recognize that he has powers from within. The child has the capacity and the capability of developing himself. Destiny of the child is within himself and hidden capabilities have to be actualized. Preparation of the directress is on three levels: Spiritual: The directress must be suitable to guide the child and prepare a secure and loving atmosphere in a moral sense. She has to become aware of her own pride and arrogance in her dealings with the child. She also has to become aware of her prejudices that prejudge the child. These prejudices are engraved in us and are like cataracts in the eye that blur our vision.
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In order for her to get rid of her prejudices she has to realize what a great worker the child is and how worthy of our love and service he is. Her ego must be put aside for all this. She must be willing to accept her mistake, apologize and understand that the child is not perfect and have realistic expectations from him. She must have faith in the child that he has capabilities to do his activities by himself and should not interfere at all in any way or else he will lose interest in that activity. She needs to realize that all children are different and they develop at a different time and pace and acknowledge them. She must provide the help when needed and must be willing to learn from the child.
She needs to realize that she is not his maker and should not impose herself on him. There should be no superiority complex as she is just being an aid. She has to be modest, helpful, humble and loving. She should assist the child and be lovingly firm when needed. She must have patience and love the children in the real sense i.e. in a human manner with understanding. She must always have a smile on her face and be calm.
She must develop a good sense of self-development i.e. she must unlearn the things she has learnt and first be an aid to herself and then to the child. She must keep developing herself every now and then. She must also be confident (not over-confident) to help the child and have the ability to listen to him and his needs. She must also learn to control her sense of humor, never to laugh at the child, never to ridicule him and have respect for him and consider him as an individual. She must be sure that her mood swings do not affect her behavior towards the child. In order to ensure that, she must not bring her personal problems to class.
She must be willing to listen to both the parents and the children and let them talk first. The directress needs to be consistent in the routines and behavior and firm (without dominating) so that insecurity does not develop in the child. Have a well-balanced attitude with everyone and not change set patterns with different children during presentations.
Also, she needs to make sure that she remains impersonal with the child and not get emotionally involved. She has to be careful of her language and body movements and not whisper or discuss about the child with others. Be kind to one and all, empathetic, and be self-disciplined so that the child also gets the freedom to be disciplined.Intellectual: The directress must know the true nature of the child, his needs, his power and the process of self-formation in him. She needs to make efforts to know the path that the child is upon to work at, the laws and the timetable that he needs to follow. The directress should also study the basics of the Montessori Philosophy. She also has to know his tasks, how he has to do it and when he is called upon to do it by his sensitive periods. She must recognize that the laws that govern him are autonomous and hence we have to help in obedience to these laws.
All aspects of the Absorbent Mind, Sensitive Periods and Tendencies should be understood and made use of by her. She should help to create the necessary conditions that he needs. We cannot let him conform to our man-made rules as he follows the rules of nature. She must study about the child, be well aware that the child has the power to incarnate so she should allow him to be independent.
The child??™s intellectual development depends with his being in the environment. Some of the universal rights of the child are that he can choose his activities and follow his personal laws of life. The adult must have the skills in presenting the Montessori materials in such as way as to arouse interest in the child. She should know the names of the activities, their purpose and aim and should be fully prepared by having the right tools. She must know these tools, be familiar with their use and should be able to present each and every piece of apparatus that she has prepared. She must also know, based on the observation, when to present each of them and in what order so she must practice for a long time and have the correct knowledge. She also needs to understand the function of this environment. The child must be encouraged to be independent and responsible and we must provide him with faith.
He has to make an effort and for that he must practice, repeat and correct himself. The directress must also be in touch with the current research. She must be well informed of the world around her and have a background of general knowledge so that she can pass it on to the children.
She must have healthy attitudes towards other schools of thought and for that her mind should be open to accept other methods of teaching. Physical: On the physical level, the directress must present herself with proper behavior. She must be well mannered and have a good loving personality. She must be aware of the way she moves, her bodily movements should be graceful and pace must be reduced. There should be no undue movements and she should set a constant good example as the child is watching. Her voice needs to be clear and quiet. She must be pleasant to look at, preferably young and beautiful, neat and attractive, charmingly dressed, scented with cleanliness, happy and graciously dignified. Her clothing should not attract undue attention.
She must reduce the pace and rhythm to suit the child while performing an activity. Eye contact must be maintained with the child at all times so she would need to bend down and talk to the child. The directress needs to present herself well to the community.Work of the directress:1) Guardian of the environment ??“ The directress has to prepare the environment, maintain it in perfect order at all times and continuously develop it and sustain it. The vital environment should have all the provisions that the child needs, all the protection and the necessary stimulation that he requires. Each and every piece of apparatus should be in good condition.
She has to see to it that there are sufficient supplies. Organize, prepare and have everything correct and exact. The environment should be attractive, clean and beautiful. She must provide the child with the technical skills to help him develop his physical skills i.e. provide the right tools and have enough materials.
She must possess the practical knowledge in regards to service the child and consider his psychical needs. She needs to know the technical skills to prepare, maintain and develop the environment keeping pace with the developing needs of the child. She must also know how to give the forms of assistance that he needs. She needs to know what to offer, when to offer and the manner in which to offer and give active assistance. Her duty is only to present new material as the child exhausts the possibilities of the old. She must allow the child to develop his movements, give him enough freedom and independence with the right kind of objects.
She must also repair and replace anything that is not in one piece. The materials should be clean and well maintained and should always stop the misuse of them. The child requires a real environment that is clean and attractive but not fancy. She must take care to keep it spick and span and to beauty what is called the Children??™s House. The child requires a three-hour work cycle so that he moves towards concentration. In that time he will do what he wants to do at his own pace without any breaks. Any planned activity will take place after the three hours. This will give him a good sense of time management.
The child should be given his own time and place and we should let him work at his own rhythm. 2) Dynamic link between the environment and the child ??“ Knowing that the child has an Absorbent Mind, she puts him in touch with the environment with the right approach. It is not enough to invite him but present the material properly. She should know when to present and know what the child needs. The child must be given the freedom of choice gradually. First it can be between two things and then gradually increase choices till his will develops and he can make his own choices.
Purposeful developmental activities need to be offered to him that challenge him enough so that he is successful. The interest of the child should be maintained during a presentation so she must sit in such a way that she can see the whole class and get the children??™s full attention. The movements should be very clear, exact and analyzed. Children learn by looking so she must measure her words and speak only when appropriate and know when to leave the child. She must encourage and motivate the child so that he feels that ???he can do it??™. She must know how to handle group presentations, how to call a group, when to call a group, how to conduct the group, what to do when a group calls itself and how to disperse a group. She is an observer ??“ Her duty is to observe not just one child but the whole group. She must be aware of the class at all times and know if the child has disappeared from the room.
She must also be well aware of the needs of the child and the past achievements and what needs to be further achieved. She helps the new children to settle, she must be discreet and have a place to sit when observing. She must be aware of the development of each and every child and after observing objectively and scientifically, decide what help is needed. If the child is not well, she must take the measures to intervene and protect the child and have a safe environment.
She must also protect those children who are concentrating on an activity from being disturbed. She should be able to distinguish, while observing, the child who is idling and the child who is taking rest or thinking about work. She must keep records, think and plan after an observation. She needs to use her mental energy, observe and wait for the child to develop. She must know when to be active and when to be passive. Freedom should be given only when the children are responsible and they are aware of their limits. The directress must stop herself from correcting the child as he will eventually correct himself.
Sometimes the best help is not to help at all. She should be aware of her own weakness, put aside her pride, anger and give unconditional love. This will lead to self-awareness. The directress has a responsibility towards the parents, the responsibility of helping the parents understand their child. She should give them knowledge about the Absorbent Mind, the Sensitive Periods and the Tendencies of the child. She should inform them about any aspect of the child??™s personality that is to be worked upon and update them on their child??™s progress. She should be able to make the parents understand the goal of the child and inform them about the four stages that he will undergo.
She must develop communication skills to talk and be sure not to pass on any negative comments to the parents. She must involve the parents in part of the development of the child. Let them understand to have faith in their child, make them realize that their child will eventually come to do the activity by himself so they should have patience. She must maintain a professional relationship with everyone.In conclusion, here are some of the practical rules for the teacher in relation to the environment. Put the child in touch with the environment (active) and when this is achieved, become passive.
Observe the children continuously so that one never fails to see who needs support. Go to the child when called. Listen and respond to the child??™s appeal.
Respect one who is resting and watching the others work without disturbing him or obliging him to work. At the same time be tireless in offering subjects again to those who have already refused them and in teaching those who have not yet learned and still make mistakes. Make one??™s presence felt by those who are seeking and hide from those who have already found and become invisible to those who have finished their work carried out by their own effort and are offering up their work as a spiritual thing. She must help the child to act for himself, will for himself and think for himself.
Dr. Montessori??™s quote: ???The directress must intervene to lead the child from sensations to ideas.???