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#1 of 9 Old 09-21-2010, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I went on a field trip this morning with ds's lower el class. I will say that I can somewhat understand why the teacher seems to be grasping at straws regarding a discipline system to keep, because this classroom has 14 boys, most of whom are very active and not very self-disciplined, some of whom have come from previous Montessori experience and some who have not.

I know many schools are really big on discipline systems, and obviously this school is no exception. Right now, she has the self-reflection pages (I talked her away from the green/yellow/red! ), a classroom marble system for positive behavior, and now a caramel apple reward on Friday for good behavior all week. I couldn't help but feel like if the classroom were set up as a Montessori, all of these systems wouldn't be necessary...even with 14 active boys in a room! So what is it about a true M classroom that makes all of these discipline systems unnecessary??
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#2 of 9 Old 09-21-2010, 06:57 PM
 
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that even in a good private Montessori school, director the person responsible for accrediting AMS across a reasonably large geographic area that teacher (s) and children dynamics can make it very difficult to have what you would expect. My youngest was in a lower el classroom, 20 students and two full AMS teachers. The more experienced a lovely calm gentle person and the less experienced still getting her groove. Add in a class with a lot of boys, very boisterous and in need of lots of accomodations, it was a disaster...noisy, easy to not be doing any work, and just a disaster.

The personalities just didn't work well across the kids and teachers. The other classrooms had better teachers in terms of being able to know their students and provide them with tools to not be so disruptive. Experience or their abilities I am not quite sure but think it is the ability of the teachers.

My ds who was in a different lower el class has sensory difficulties. He would need to use his large muscles and other things throughout the day. Definitely disruptive if his primary teacher was not aware of where he was at and what he needed. But she was and the class had the lovely hum of activity where kids were productive, practicing a peaceful way of interacting and thoroughly engaged in their education...As an aside, fortunately now at age 10 the sensory problems aren't pronounced, he is good at recognizing his own needs and the Montessori environment was wonderful in meeting his needs and keeping him positive about himself and learning.

I don't know if this helps, discourages but it definitely could be the case that there aren't things in place for the children to be successful along with too much for the teacher to handle on her own. Are there tools she can use to help the kids, resources....Does the school have an OT available to help with activities that will balance kids need to be disruptive? Brainstorming ways to help what must be a frustrating situation for you as well as the teacher.


We took my youngest dd out, not willing to pay the disaster that was her class. This was a shame given it would have been her 3rd year but she is happy to be gone.
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#3 of 9 Old 09-22-2010, 12:27 AM
 
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So what is it about a true M classroom that makes all of these discipline systems unnecessary??
In my experience the things in place to create discipline are the peace curriculum, a clear conflict resolution process, and an on-going culture of respect and kindness for everyone in the room. Basic ground rules are also clear, and upheld all. the. time.

Especially at the beginning of the year, I feel a teacher just can't let anyone get away with anything negative, and the senior students in the class (in lower el, the 3rd graders) have to be part of guiding the new/younger students.

What I tell parents is that this method basically involves a Lot of Talking. Me explaining things to the kids. Me role modeling appropriate language for productive, interactive discussions. The kids calling each other on things that are going wrong, and talking those things out until everyone feels better. At the beginning of the year this requires a lot of support- especially the kids with no Montessori background.

Laura, mama to Abel, age 12.
also caregiver to many other creatures...
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#4 of 9 Old 09-22-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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So what is it about a true M classroom that makes all of these discipline systems unnecessary??
To add what was said, Montessori is also a method of childhood development rather than simply education and getting kids to do what you want. Montessori works because, for a large part, we are not trying to force children to do things they should not be doing. Let's take a general, yet probably popular example: a child who cannot sit in his chair very well.

This is extremely disruptive to a traditional classroom. If a child cannot sit in his chair and is constantly jumping up and down, standing, and moving around the room, that is a problem because the students' attention is directed at that child, not the teacher.

In Montessori, you deal with this problem differently. I remember one child that had to constantly move around during his work. Solving this was fairly easy. He would constantly make a number and go show it to other students simply because he could not sit still. Instead, I had him make a number and come to show it to me. (He had to wait by my chair if I was busy). I would then challenge him to make another number (He was mastering learning his 2 digit numbers).

Why should this child NOT move? Movement is a key to learning. By stopping the movement, the child either has to focus so much on not moving or dull himself enough that he's not engaged.

Traditional education doesn't focus on what the ACTUAL problem is and, to be quite harsher, it rarely focuses on a decent solution. You see, in the first example, I hinted at how the traditional method sees the student. I said, "that is a problem because the students' attention is directed at that child, not the teacher." The student is a problem because he disrupts the teacher. If you stop the disruption, this method automatically assumes the problem is done. Sure...under a certain discipline system, he finally is sitting down. Now he's not paying attention (when he actually was paying attention before). Now the teacher just sees it that they solved the problem and class can continue, but why is Jimmy not able to pay attention? Fact is...the system MADE him not pay attention.

The solution is also not correct. In Montessori, the focus is on the environment. When something goes wrong in Montessori, the first question is regularly, "What problem is there in the environment that is causing this?" In traditional education, they blame the student for not fitting into the environment that they have no control over anyway. In Montessori, we blame our environment for not being right for the student and work to try to rectify that as the student needs.
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#5 of 9 Old 09-22-2010, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for those replies.

This may veer off-topic a bit, but regarding conforming the environment to meet the child's needs, rather than forcing the child to conform to the environment: Yet another thing I love about the Montessori method. I think Matt was spot on when he said that the system MADE the child in his scenario not pay attention. But this is one of those concepts that gets a lot of eye-rolls. I understand that it goes completely against the grain of what many people have learned or how many were raised, and I think that people (even some M "trained" teachers, evidently) think that sounds like way too much work (even though, I'm sure it's a heck of a lot easier than running 3 "discipline" systems).

But back to the eye-rolls. My mom is a retired school psych, and she is a lovely person but very much has the feeling that the way she did it and it's been done and for years and continues to be done in traditional ed. is the only way things should be done. Very traditional, very behaviorist (even though she claims to not be a behaviorist). She even said to me that it was "good for" ds that his classroom wasn't totally M., so that he could get a taste of the real world. Anytime I mention to anyone not M-minded the idea of preparing the environment and adapting it for the child, I am met with the aforementioned eye-roll and possibly a statement about that not being the "real world." I never know how to respond.
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#6 of 9 Old 09-22-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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But back to the eye-rolls. My mom is a retired school psych, and she is a lovely person but very much has the feeling that the way she did it and it's been done and for years and continues to be done in traditional ed. is the only way things should be done. Very traditional, very behaviorist (even though she claims to not be a behaviorist). She even said to me that it was "good for" ds that his classroom wasn't totally M., so that he could get a taste of the real world. Anytime I mention to anyone not M-minded the idea of preparing the environment and adapting it for the child, I am met with the aforementioned eye-roll and possibly a statement about that not being the "real world." I never know how to respond.
That's OK. I never quite know how to respond when someone says sitting in a desk for 40 minute periods, 8 hour days, listening to someone go over useless information somehow prepares students for the "real world." It's never been a job anything similar to what I had with traditional education. I guess I'm even in that regard and give my own eye rolls all the time.

Most jobs out there now, to be successful, require creativity. I guess if you REALLY want to look at it, Montessori's what you want in the real world job market scenario of the future. (Even today).
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#7 of 9 Old 09-22-2010, 11:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's OK. I never quite know how to respond when someone says sitting in a desk for 40 minute periods, 8 hour days, listening to someone go over useless information somehow prepares students for the "real world." It's never been a job anything similar to what I had with traditional education. I guess I'm even in that regard and give my own eye rolls all the time.

Most jobs out there now, to be successful, require creativity. I guess if you REALLY want to look at it, Montessori's what you want in the real world job market scenario of the future. (Even today).
That's really true. Thanks! See - I get so swept up in what "everyone else" says that I forget how to think reasonably (must be my traditional education). So I could just say, "How is it the real world for a 6 year old to have to sit still and listen to lessons all day, when we all know that they actually learn by doing?"

And frankly, as students get older, they are expected to do more and more independently, and if a student has already learned the skills of self-discipline for learning, an older person would have no problem sitting still to listen in a meeting or in a university class.

As for the discipline, there are a lot of boys in the class (the girls in the room were pretty calm). While it's easy to say this as a person who doesn't have to spend 8 hours a day with them everyday, I will say that none of them seemed to be anything beyond your basic, high-energy kid (actually, though, my sensory kid seemed mild mannerd comparatively!) They wrestled and poked each other a bit in line on the way to the field trip, but none of the children seemed malicious. Absolutely, a system of respect and a clear guideline for conflict-resolution and self-reflection is important, but I really wouldn't think that it should have to go much beyond that. If the classroom were set up to what the children need to do their learning, then there would likely be very few problems.

*sigh* I should play the lottery. If I won, I could afford a real Montessori.
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#8 of 9 Old 09-22-2010, 11:50 PM
 
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That's really true. Thanks! See - I get so swept up in what "everyone else" says that I forget how to think reasonably (must be my traditional education). So I could just say, "How is it the real world for a 6 year old to have to sit still and listen to lessons all day, when we all know that they actually learn by doing?"
Nobody ever learned to milk a cow through worksheets.
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#9 of 9 Old 09-23-2010, 01:32 PM
 
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That's OK. I never quite know how to respond when someone says sitting in a desk for 40 minute periods, 8 hour days, listening to someone go over useless information somehow prepares students for the "real world." It's never been a job anything similar to what I had with traditional education. I guess I'm even in that regard and give my own eye rolls all the time.

Most jobs out there now, to be successful, require creativity. I guess if you REALLY want to look at it, Montessori's what you want in the real world job market scenario of the future. (Even today).
Matt, if I haven't said it lately, you are one of my Montessori HEROES!!

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