Sometimes, we had a situation with a student, or a curricular or logistical issue, that was particularly challenging. To resolve this type of issue, we employed a special role-playing/ brainstorming process introduced to all of our staff at our regular faculty meetings. Our school likes to refer to this process as “Teachers Helping Teachers”.
Group Problem Solving with Montessori Teachers Helping TeachersMontessori educators Robyn Breiman and Pat Werner developed a similar group problem-solving process that helps teachers use the vast resources that exist among their colleagues. In one of their workshops, Breiman and Werner suggest starting preparation for the group problem-solving a week before the faculty meeting where the discussion will take place. One person is designated to gather all relevant information (or the “history) about the problem, student, etc. For example, they would look at all student records and documentation that exists related to the student. They could also interview anyone relevant to the situation. While the “historian” gathers information, three separate observations by three separate individuals should take place. Each observation should be 15 minutes and should be at various times. These observations should be performed by various people, including those who are involved and those who are not, new teachers, assistants, experienced teachers, inclusion specialists, guidance counselors, teachers from other age groups and classrooms. The more varied the observers, the more varied and helpful the potential information to come out of the observation. Remember to stress that observations are completely objective! This is not a time for assessments and formed opinions.
Simple Steps to Problem-Solving
Preparation (one week before meeting date):
- “Historian” gathers information on the situation
- Observations by three different people
- Report by Historian (5 minutes)
- Reports by Observers (2 minutes each)
- Whole Group Brainstorms on Positives (5 minutes)
- Whole Group Brainstorms on Negatives (5 minutes)
- Whole Group Brainstorms Solutions and Plan for Implementation (5-10 minutes)
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.