Explain How the Role of the Teacher Changes in the Process of the Child’s Growing Normalisation (Socialisation)

In this essay i will endevour to explain what normalisation is and how it take place - Explain How the Role of the Teacher Changes in the Process of the Child’s Growing Normalisation (Socialisation) introduction. I will look at the deviations that might occur during this process. For normalisation to take place there are certain things that are required to in place. This will include the favourable environment. We will lok at what is considered as favourable environment and how it supports the normalisation process. I will identify the key roles of the teacher and how the teacher facilitates this process. And finaly conclude by looking at the reasons that would make a child not achieve the desireable development.

During Montessori’s observation on the children she was teaching, she noticed that there was a process that was unfolding. At the time the children started attending the class most of them were not social, could not concentrate because of their background. (Montessori 2007a). Montessori noticed that after a while the children, aged between three and six years could concentrate their energy, focus their intelligence on a given activity and take satisfaction from their work and were disciplined. She then called this process normalisation. A normalised child should love work.

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That is enjoying playing with the materials provided at school. She should be able to concentrate, be disciplined and also sociable. “All four characteristics must be present for us to say that a normalised type common to the whole mankind is appearing no matter how brief the appearance of the characteristics. The process is usually invisible to us because the process of normalisation is hidden by characteristics not proper to the child. (Montessori 2007a). Other characteristics can be observed in a normalised child are love for order, attachment to what is real, loves silence and can work alone.

This child has power to act from real choice and not just from curiosity, has limited possessive instinct, is obedient and has initiative. (Standing, 1998) Normalisation is a process that takes place in a Montessori class. For this process to take certain procedures have to be in place. The children have to follow a certain cycle of work. This procedure includes the gathering of necessary material required to do an activity. The activity should engross the child‘s mind so that he/she can reach a deep level of concentration.

This should lead to the general feeling of satisfaction which can be seen when the child puts away the materials and engages with other children. (Montessori, 2007b) As the process of normalisation was taking place, Montessori observed that another process was also taking place in some of the children. This other process is called deviation. Deviations can be described as a process where the normal development of a child cannot proceed normally because of defences and detours that are blocking the development process. Montessori 2007a) Basically this means that the child cannot fully attain or use his free will (horme) to the maximum. Montessori considers the following as the main reasons for deviation in behaviour. One is lack of intellectual nourishment for the mind and two is lack of spontaneous activity which is promoted by internal impulses (Montessori 2007a). These deviations may or may not be caused by adults. E. g. if the child is constantly with the adult and everything is done for the child then the child becomes totally dependent of the adult.

When the child is required to do an activity alone it becomes difficult because the child is used to receiving and everything is done for them. Montessori has described various types of deviations. These include when a child’s mind takes refuge in fantasies as opposed to building itself through voluntary and physical activity. It’s like taking refuge from the existing environment. This is called fugues. ( Montessori 2007a) Another form of deviation is through barriers. When a child is discouraged and seeks to escape by withdrawing into himself.

This form of deviation shows itself as disobedience or obstinacy. (Montessori 2007a) Other outcomes of this form of deviation are attachment to an adult, possessiveness, inferiority complex, fear and lies. Theses deviations can be shown clearly by both weak and strong children. (Montessori 2007a) The weak children normally succumb to the unfavourable conditions because they are possessive and cry all the time for attention. They are fearful and cling to adults. The strong children on the other hand are resistant and overcome the obstacles they meet.

These children have fits of rage and are aggressive. They are also disobedient, possessive and are unable to concentrate. For the process of normalisation to take place, there has to be a favourable environment. A child will achieve optimal development in the favourable environment. Montessori (2007a) explains that where the child stays/ learns must be friendly allowing the child to discover and explore it with minimal inhibitions. The furniture should not be constricting. There should be free movement to allow the child to move freely. The class environment should promote individual work.

Another characteristic is the materials provided for the child to play with. These materials should meet the dynamic needs of the child. “this method seeks to give all these (toys) to the child in reality the (child actually performs the chores) – making him an actor in a living scene” ( Montessori, 1965, pg 46-47). The materials should also be organised to meet the needs and mentally challenge the child. The teacher is another important element of the favourable environment. The teacher’s role is to ensure that the environment is organised in such a way that is supports the needs for order in the child’s life.

She should make the environment orderly, consistent, predictable and safe for the child. The child will not develop well if the environment is not suited for them. It could hinder the development. For example if the class is not orderly then the child will not be able to achieve his inert need for order thus he will not be orderly and his mental process will not develop in an orderly manner. If the environment is not safe the child will not be able to interact with the environment freely thus he will not use his hands and legs well.

If the materials are not challenging the child become bored and look for other ways to entertain him like having fantasies. Ideally the child would attend school between the age of three and six years. This age has been refreed to as the sosial embroyonic stage where the child’s egocentricity starts to disappear and is replaced by will. Language is more refined at this stage and intentional behavior emerges. The child can also move well with his legs. Therefore at this stage freedom is important because the human tendancy drives the child to explore. (montessori 2007a).

If the environment offers the child freedom with appropriate responsibility, the emerging will is evident in the child’s growing self discipline. (montessori 2007b). These freedom during work allows the child to display their inate social cohesion. (Montessori 2007a). True discipline and harmony was somthing that came from within and was not something that could be enforced. “Only ‘normalised’ children, aided by their environment, show in their subsequent development whose wondeful power that we desribe; spontaneous discipline, continous and happy work social sentiments of help and sympathy for others. (Montessori, 2007a, p. 188) In the Montessori system the teacher is the facilitator in the normalisation process. To be able to support the child the teacher has to believe in the system. She should ensure a favourable environment for the child. The teacher can support the process by taking good care of the environment ensuring that it is safe. It must also be attractive to the children. She should assist the children in operating the materials and be able to observe and assist those who require help (Montessori 2007a).

The teacher should guide and observe and make sure the child achieves his full potential. The teacher plays a key role in the initial stages of the child in school. We have mentioned how the teacher has to prepare the environment and the his role. When a new child is brought to school for the first time there is bound to be abit of fussing. This is because of change of environment for the child. At this point the child needs reassuarance that all is okay, guidance as to what should be done and how to go about the materials. The teacher therfore focuses on engaging them in activity that will stimulate them.

Once the child has familiarised himself with the environment and the process of normalisation has began the role of the teacher’s role shifts to that of observing and ensuring that the child is safe and is doing the activity appropriately. The teacher will now provide guidance and assistance when required. In conclusion, normalisation is a process that help children to be able to attain there full potential. The teacher is instrumental in this process and should be alert to noticed change in the child so that he can be able to assit and guide the child well.

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