What is the Teachers’ Role in a Montessori Classroom?
Scientific observation has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment. The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity, spread over a specially prepared environment, and then refraining from obtrusive interference. Human teachers can only help the great work that is being done, as servants help the master. Doing so, they will be witnesses to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New Man who will not be a victim of events, but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society.
- Maria Montessori
- Education For a New World. Essential Montessori (1994)
In Montessori education three things work together: the child, the teacher, and the materials-each part is important. Each child has many talents to be discovered. The child is not an empty container waiting to be filled up by the knowledge of the teacher. The teacher observes, follows, directs and guidesby brining wisdom, thoughtfulness, and experience to the child's academic, social, and intellectual exploration.
The Montessori approach demands special professionals who are confident and skilled enough to allow children to be active participants in their learning. It also means that all school decisions are driven by what is best for the child. The authentic and beautiful Montessori materials provide activities that are cherished by the children and that help them learn with joy and understanding.
The teacher establishes guidelines for work and behavior, showing children how to be successful within the structure of the curriculum and the community. As a result, a pattern of good work habits and a sense of responsibility and cooperation are established in the classroom.