Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Being a Dynamic Montessori Teacher: Self Evaluation and Success

NAMC montessori teacher self evaluation teaching children
Teachers who understand how their goals of education relate to their teaching strategies are more likely to implement practices that consciously emphasize some goals and eliminate those practices they consider not useful.
- Dr. Marlene Barron, Maria Montessori and the Postmodern World, Montessori Life, AMS, Summer 2002.

In many parts of the world, summer is about to end and a new school year is about to begin. Now is the time when I think seriously about what I need to improve in my Montessori classroom for the coming year. I think about my older students who will be returning for another year. What were their individual challenges last year? What are their strengths? I review teacher notes for incoming Montessori students and begin preparation for their introduction into the new Montessori classroom. I assess Montessori environmental design and curriculum, asking questions, such as: Do material and subject areas make sense where they are located? Is there a logical flow to the Montessori classroom? Do I have any curricular deficiencies or challenges?

Being a Dynamic Montessori Teacher: Self Evaluation and Success

In her article, “Maria Montessori and the Postmodern World”, Dr. Marlene Barron offers ideas for evaluating what we do as Montessori teachers and schools, with a view to nurturing students as citizens today, and for the future. Dr. Barron has observed that a teacher’s beliefs and biases can be a hindrance to helping foster the development of children. Emphasizing that those of us who have the great fortune to live in a democratic society also have the opportunity to value, share and teach this important process, Dr. Barron suggests that it is critical for adults and students to discuss issues, values, ideas, etc., as part of the ongoing improvement of Montessori education programs.

Through her research and experience working with Montessori educators, Dr. Barron and her colleagues developed a list of considerations for improved approaches to Montessori education, as summarized below:
  • When making decisions, help and encourage students to use a “both/and” approach instead of an “either/or” approach to the decision-making process. The “both/and” approach is more appropriate to today’s world, with emphasis on the benefit of shared expression and inclusive thought.
  • Teachers who problem-solve and negotiate with others will be more likely to have students who do the same.
  • Vertical classrooms, i.e., “experts” conveying their knowledge and top-down practices are things of the past. This is true for Montessori teacher education programs and Montessori schools.
  • The expectation that students will “finish one’s work before beginning another activity” might be unreasonable and impractical when that is not the nature of an adult’s work day. Montessori methodology embraces an integrated curriculum, where learning is encouraged across multiple disciplines to “see” connections among varying subjects.
  • Encourage student dialogue with peers and other adults during the work cycle and school day.
  • Students know a lot and might even be experts on some topics.
NAMC montessori teacher self evaluation boy typing
A new school year is about to begin. Help your colleagues and yourself be the best you can be. Take time over the coming weeks to assess what, how and why you do the things you do in the classroom, thinking about today’s world and how its changes will affect your students as they grow. Perhaps you will find new ways to incorporate important cultural, educational and technological developments into the Montessori curriculum, in order to help your students become successful citizens, now and for the future!
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.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, August 4, 2009.


Post a Comment

Have questions or comments? Let us know what you thought about this article!

We appreciate feedback and love to discuss with our readers further.

NAMC Blog Inquiries Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Search the NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog

Are you interested in reading back through NAMC's blog articles from years gone by, or for more information on a specific topic?

Browse a select list of our most popular categories below; by clicking on one, you will see every article posted under that topic since 2007. You may also use the lower archive menu to select a year and month, displaying all blog posts in the chosen time frame.

If you are seeking a range of information on a certain topic or idea, try this search box for site-wide keyword results.

Choose From a List of Popular Article Topics

NAMC Montessori Series

Montessori Philosophy and Methodology

Montessori Classroom Management

The School Year

Montessori Materials

Montessori Curriculum

Montessori Infant/Toddler (0–3) Program

Montessori Early Childhood (3–6) Program

Montessori Elementary (6–12) Programs

What is Montessori?

Search Archives for Montessori Blog Posts by Date

Thank you to the NAMC Montessori community!

This year marks NAMC’s 20th anniversary of providing quality Montessori distance training and curriculum development to Montessorians around the globe. Since we began in 1996, we have grown to build a fantastic community of students, graduates, and schools in over 120 countries. We are grateful for your continued support and dedication to furthering the reach and success of the Montessori method. Thank you for sharing this amazing milestone with us!