Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 23.
As an upper elementary Montessori teacher in a new school, I was often bombarded with questions from the children.
The Power of "I Don't Know"My response was usually, “I don’t know. Let’s go find out.” Off we would go to the computer to search for information online. I know, some of you are thinking, “Why didn’t you go to an encyclopedia or other reference book?” Based on observation, I noticed that once those options were mentioned, my students’ interest would wane, and they would move on to something else before discovering the answer. Their interest didn’t extend to the time it took to use what they saw as old-fashioned, cumbersome materials.
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 20.
Visualnote by Rebeca Zuniga Lee based on the work of Heather Wolpert-Gawron, The Power of "I Don't Know."
When was the last time you told a student that you didn’t know the answer to their question? Did you leave it at that, or did you offer to find the answer together? Rather than feeling inadequate, use the power of “I don’t know” to drive the inquiry. After all, it’s usually not about the answer; as with most things Montessori, it’s about the process we use to get there.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, July 6, 2021.