Ever been curious about what Montessori teachers talk about when they get together? I can assure you we have some pretty fun conversations and we lose track of time.
When Jesse McCarthy of Montessori Education and I got to meet up when I was in the US recently, 2.5+ hours flew by. We thought that maybe you’d find it fun to hear the kind of things we were talking about and recorded a few interesting topics one Saturday morning when I was back in Amsterdam, this time via Skype.
Teach by teaching, not by correcting
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might remember this phrase we like to use in Montessori, “teach by teaching, not by correcting.”
So when Jesse and I started discussing the question how much do you let the child lead and when do you step in to correct them, this is the phrase that came into my head.
Let’s say a child is using an activity or object in a way that it wasn’t intended. For example, using a watering can to fill a bucket rather than to water a plant.
As long as it is safe and they aren’t hurting themselves, someone else, or the environment (the classroom, home or nature), then I don’t step in to correct them. At this point, I’m choosing to preserve their concentration and focus. Then I make a mental note to show them at a later neutral moment how to give water to the plants.
Teach by teaching, not by correcting.
They will be much more receptive to hearing how to use the watering can (teaching), rather than if I step in immediately to tell them they are doing something wrong (correcting).
On the other hand, if they are hurting themselves, someone else or the environment, I will step in to set a kind and clear limit. “It’s my job to keep everyone safe. Would you like to use the broom for sweeping? Or we can put it back on its hook.”
This is a fun discussion. I hope you enjoy it.