Role of the Teacher Changes in the Process of the Child’s Growing Normalisation

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According to Montessori (2007a, pg. 186), the transition from one stage to another always occurs after engaging in manual work with physical objects and focusing mentally. This process, known as ‘normalisation’, is essential for the development of individuals aged 0 to 18 years old. Montessori (2007a) further categorizes this lifespan into three periods: 0-6 years, 6-12 years, and 12-18 years old. The first period, which lasts from birth to six years old, is considered the most critical phase of life and emphasizes fostering creativity.

During the first three years of a child’s life, their mindset is primarily shaped by nature rather than adult influence. They are unaware of societal principles and do not understand morality. As they move into the next phase between 6-12 years old, children begin to form moral values and differentiate between right and wrong actions. This growing sense of morality ultimately leads to the development of a social conscience. Lastly, in the third period from 12-18 years old, patriotism and social awareness start to emerge gradually.

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Each period builds upon the one before it and contributes to the success of the following period. The quote “We serve the future by protecting the present” (Montessori, 2007a, pg 177) emphasizes the importance of laying a strong foundation. According to Montessori (2007a), the years from birth to three are critical for a child’s personality development. If obstacles arise during this time, it may cause the child’s personality to deviate. Montessori (2007a) believed that an ideal individual is one who has not experienced any deviations by the age of three.

Her prognosis states that children between the ages of 0-3 years with deviations can be cured by the time they reach 3-6 years old. This is because during this period, nature is still perfecting their developing abilities. However, if these defects are not corrected during this time, they persist and worsen, ultimately affecting the second main period where children become aware of right and wrong. Montessori (2007a) further categorizes deviations into two groups – those demonstrated by individuals with strong character and those shown by individuals with weak character. The strong type of deviation involves resisting and overcoming obstacles.

Children who exhibit violent tendencies, insubordination, rage, disobedience, and sudden mood changes may be overshadowed by the quiet and clingy behavior of weak children, which their parents wrongly interpret as signs of affection. However, understanding the cycle of constructive activities that every child should naturally go through can resolve these issues. Neglecting children at this stage leads to an empty mind and a lack of spontaneous activity.

However, the defects vanished when children were placed in an environment that allowed them to engage with their surroundings. They had the freedom to select their own activities, repeat them as desired, and move around to choose where to sit or work. At this age, the child not only requires engaging tasks but also becomes genuinely engrossed in activities freely chosen without interruptions.

He repeats the same movements continuously, absorbed in the task, instinctively coordinating his movements to improve coordination. This repetition creates a deep mental connection and concentration. Concentration leads to normalisation, which is greatly influenced by the environment. The environment is carefully prepared to meet the child’s needs and provide freedom of expression. The tables and chairs are sized appropriately for the child’s physical needs.

The lightweight nature of the items in the main room promoted freedom of movement for the child. The main room featured low cupboards with various activities, a wash basin, a dressing room with a shelf, a sitting room with appropriately sized armchairs, and a fully equipped dining room that allowed the child to easily engage in daily life activities. This setup enabled the child to continue with their activities independently, enhancing their self-confidence through decision-making. Montessori also emphasized the importance of beautifying the environment with pictures, plants, ornaments, and table cloths, as she believed this would encourage children with deviated behavior to respond positively to reality.

The text emphasizes the importance of order and organization in a child’s mental development. It states that the characteristics of normalization include hands-on experiences with tasks, repetitive work, concentration, discipline, and friendliness. It suggests that when the child is exposed to a new environment that offers constructive activities, these characteristics come together and any deviations are resolved. This results in the emergence of a unique type of child, allowing their true personality to develop. The text also highlights the crucial role of the teacher as a link between the child and the environment. The teacher should observe and understand the child’s needs, providing support without interrupting their activities unless requested.

The interruption that is not necessary disrupts both the activity and the thought process. Moreover, it is crucial for the teacher to shield the child who is focused from any kind of interruption. This applies particularly when the child has entered the concentration stage and is visibly engaged in practical life exercises; during this time, the teacher should refrain from intervening. This behavior signifies the transitional phase of normalization, which paves the way for a fresh set of activities. With newly enrolled children in the nursery, the teacher assumes a more active role. This is often their first experience of being away from home.

The teacher assists the child by introducing everyday practical activities, like the morning routine, organizing the child’s belongings in their designated location, and familiarizing them with all the materials in the classroom. Through this approach, the teacher establishes a sense of order and routine, enabling the child to develop a consistent work pattern. Eventually, as the child grows more at ease with this structured environment, they acquire self-assurance and independence. Consequently, the teacher gradually grants the child greater autonomy within the classroom setting.

As the child directs their attention, they become increasingly engaged in their interactions with the teacher. Consequently, the teacher assumes a more passive position by observing and upholding the environment. The role of the teacher evolves through various stages, beginning with a primary emphasis on meticulously preparing the environment rather than addressing children’s restlessness. In this initial stage, it is crucial for the teacher to ensure that the surroundings are organized, tidy, aesthetically appealing. Equally important is for the teacher to present themselves in a similar manner since it is perceived as an essential step towards earning the child’s respect.

For the child to achieve normalization and express their true personality, a suitable prepared environment is crucial. The teacher’s behavior towards the children plays an important role in this process. In the second stage, it is possible that the children may still struggle with concentration and exhibit disorderly behavior, often getting easily distracted. During this stage, the teacher has the responsibility of involving them in activities that may not directly contribute to their education but help keep them occupied and create a sense of tranquility.

When encountering a consistently disruptive child who interferes with others, the teacher can intervene by diverting their attention and leading them away from the group using affection. This stage is critical for the child to achieve concentration. It is important for the teacher not to interrupt a child who becomes interested in an object or task and begins focusing their attention on it.

When the teacher interrupts to assist a struggling child, it leads to loss of interest and dependence on the teacher to complete tasks. Interruptions during this time disrupt focus and reduce motivation to overcome challenges. The teacher should transition into a supportive role, allowing the child to develop independence. According to Montessori (2007a, pg 255), “once concentration begins, act as if the child does not exist.” This principle promotes success for teachers. In summary, the interconnections and reliance among the child, environment, and teacher are evident. These relationships form the foundation of Montessori’s teaching approach (Montessori, 1972; Montessori 2007a; Montessori 2007b).

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Role of the Teacher Changes in the Process of the Child’s Growing Normalisation. (2018, May 07). Retrieved from

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