Tuesday 31 July 2018

Timetables vs Self made Plans - Montessori scores again!

One key way in which Montessori schooling differs from traditional schooling is the level of control the students have over their learning. 

Lower Elementary students planning their work
In a typical school, children are subject to a timetable - set by the "powers that be" - which is pretty sacrosanct.  A kid cannot, for example wander off and do division sums when its time for English. Or continue writing a story, when its the Science period.

Observe the concentration though they're in the playground
In Montessori, there aren't fixed timetables. Instead there is a three / five hour work cycle - in which children "work". Otherwise known as study.  The difference - they choose what they want to "study" or work on. It could be writing a poem, working with grammar, learning the lifecycle of a swan, painting a picture or doing multiplication.  And each child could be doing something different. 

A fundamental part of the daily routine is planning the work. Work planning done by children themselves.  "What would I like to work on tomorrow?" "What's the further work I need to do in Maths?" "I think I'll write that story and do the continent work".  At the end of each working day, children ponder and plan. And note down a list of work they would like to do on the next day.  The Montessori adult (teacher) may give inputs.  

We plan under or on top! 
Next morning, the children walk in, consult their plan, and start working.  The plan isn't cast in stone, it may undergo modification. But a guideline, created by the child, is present.  Through the day the plan guides the children and helps them make choices.  The independence and self control over the learning process does away with the problem of reluctant learners. Handing control back to the child helps them feel responsible for their own learning.  

Planning is a vital life skill for every adult. In Montessori, it starts in childhood itself.

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