Preparing the teacher is a very important aspect of Montessori Training, and this should be so as the Montessori method of educating the child is so different from the traditional module. Permit me to digress a bit from what my Montessori educators may think this post is about, as I wish to look at the preparation of the teacher from a general non Montessori point of view.
The reason why I am going down this road is because I realise that if we are to educate our children and prepare them for life in 21st Century, we need to prepare our Teachers first, regardless of whether they are Montessori guides or Traditional Teachers in our public and private school settings.
So how do we prepare our teachers? This is a good beginning question and I will try and briefly enumerate a few basic areas we must address adequately to get our teachers becoming effective and efficient agents of change and development in our school settings.
- Teacher training needs to be re-evaluated, the Colleges of Education need to come into the 21st Century. Some have started to make the changes but some are still not moving as fast as we need them to move. Child Development and Child Psychology, understanding the development of the brain and intelligence even is small introductory measures will help the new teacher understand what they are doing and the impact of their actions. Right now a lot of professionals are still working in isolation of the knowledge they need to do their job.
- Early years majors in our Colleges of Education and Universities need to have basic numeracy and literacy skills down their belt. You cannot be graduating educators who do not know the basic steps to teaching a child how to read, write and count. I mean 21st Century, tried and tested methods, not the stand in front of the class teach, recite and cram method! This is one of the reasons why I wrote Teach Your Child to Read to help both Teachers and Parents grasp what is happening and what to do step by step. An Introduction to Montessori Mathematics, which is an online course was devised for this very same reason. How do you teach a child numeracy so they love Mathematics? Lets stop this tradition of nearly all of us hate MATHS syndrome!
- Another thing I know we must deal with whether we like it or not is exam malpractices. As an online Montessori Teacher Trainer I have had to deal with a few cases of my students cheating during their final examination! I am alarmed that someone who claims to want to become a Montessori Teacher, about to be certified would do this. Imagine what is happening all around us. We must root out this evil or else it would be the same old same old. No change. The moral fabric of a society is built by our ethics and ethos. Let’s take this seriously, call it out for what it is everywhere it rears it’s ugly head until it ceases and dies because I know we are better than this.
- This is to the Federal Ministry of Education and the State counterparts: Please, please, and again I beg you, please do not change the curriculum on a whim, curriculum change should be researched and rigorously designed to meet the needs of the nations and states, STEM, History, Geography, Sex Education even special needs are all great, but do it right. Age appropriate work for each class, hands on activities not content without context. Train the teachers on Inclusive strategies, not size fits all education. Most of all, training is needed before you roll this out. Training that get down to the grass roots. This is what would work, anything else is just shuffling of papers.
So that is what I think we need to do for starters.
The teacher must be prepared to learn and continue learning. I have found that those who have done great and very well are those who have taken the bull by the horn and continued to train themselves. Stop waiting for your school to pay for everything. Train yourself. Continued Professional Development is needed. When will we ever get to a point when regulation is meaningful and truly life changing?
Preparing our teachers is important if we are going to achieve our goals of building and grooming the next leaders of the country, we can keep doing what we are doing and hope. Or we can change the course of history by really thinking through what we are doing and do it right.