Tuesday, March 5, 2013

An Obligation

 Maria Montessori believed that there is an equal responsibility between, students, teachers, and parents to foster education in a child. I have always subscribed to this theory but I had never really considered the aspect of community in this equation. Her approach focuses on the child's ability to be a self driven learner. Here is an interesting article about if the Montessori Method works. 

Students have the responsibility to be engaged learners. They do not need to be excited, eager, or curious, but they need to be able to absorb information. When I was younger, I would plug my ears every time I thought my mom was going to say something informational. I was very unwilling to learn. This is the exact opposite of a student's obligation. They need to be sponges to soak up information. They can not be expected to always go above and beyond, because some students do not have that drive. They just need to be able to internalize what their teachers and surroundings our teaching them. Ideally, I would like students to be proactive learners, but we can't assume all kids have this natural curious behavior. 

Teachers have the responsibility to, well, teach. When you strip it down, teachers don't need to make things creative or fun. If they have students who are receptive no matter the teaching style, technically all teachers have to do is pass on information. However, I believe that teachers SHOULD FEEL an obligation to reach out to students. To make sure they understand material and to make sure they are able to learn. They need to look out for their kids and their futures. I wish we could change the title to "teachers and mentors", because that is what they are. If teachers knew how much they affect the psyche of a student, I think they would be more likely to take time and give students ALL the tools they need, not just academic ones. 

It is impossible to say what a parent's responsibility is. I think they need to tailor their behavior to each child. Unlike teachers, they do have the resources and obligation to meet their child's needs. For example, I would intentionally do worse in school if my parents pushed me. I pushed myself and I am driven without being pushed. My sister, on the other hand, needed to be prodded and bribed to complete assignments. So what is the obligation of a parent? It is to meet the educational needs of their student. To attend the meetings, ask about homework, and to make sure they KNOW their child and what they need as an individual. This is something that is hard to accomplish in a school setting so it is needed at home. In this way, kids will know that their individual needs are appreciated. 

Children at my Middle School doing
 "Beach Science in the Morning"
Communities have the responsibility to provide a quality (free) education for all students. Members of the community should put students first. Welcome them into their businesses, offer advice, and financially provide a safe learning environment. If a community is not dedicated to a safe, effective learning environment, how are students supposed to focus on retaining any information other than the sound of a metal detector. I am from a small community, and we were frequently able to go on field trips to go to local businesses and do environmental work. We were also offered internships and jobs. The trust that goes into giving student's a community responsibility is something that is important because students can learn that they are valued members of a community. 

When all of these aspects work together, I think schooling can be effective. However, not everyone
 has the time, resources, or skills to make it work. 

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