Wednesday, May 28, 2008
First Posted 13:39:00 05/27/2008
Parents of children 7 years old and below are invited to join the Oneworld Montessori in a seminar on Montessori Education on May 31 at 2:30 p.m.
The resource speaker is Jocelyn Kintanar, Ph.D., the founding president of the Association of Montessorians in Southern Philippines.
The seminar will give the participants an overview of the Montessori approach.
Oneworld Montessori is located at 145 Salvador Extension, Banawan, Cebu City. To sign up for this free seminar, call 2533191 or 4185115 or log on to www.oneworldcebu.com.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
by Jocelyn C. Kintanar, Ph.D.
President, Association of Montessorians in Southern Philippines
The decision of the Cebu City government and the Department of Education to train more than 200 of their pre-school teachers and day care workers on the Montessori approach of teaching young children was a step in the right direction. Contrary to the common belief, the preschool education and not the university studies are the most important years in a person’s life. Investing resources in training these teachers and day care workers is money well spent and will go a long way towards improving literacy, particularly among the underprivileged children.
The greatest realization expressed by most participants who attended the Montessori training program at Oneworld Montessori House was the importance of movement and freedom in fostering the child’s intellectual development, following the child’s natural tendencies and interests and letting the child “paddle his own canoe”.
In her book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, Dr. Angelina Stoll Lillard, expressed her belief that the “traditional American schooling is in constant crisis because it is based on two poor models for children’s learning: the school as a factory and the child as a blank slate”. Further, she said that “school reforms repeatedly fail by not penetrating these models.”
Not too long ago, the Sec. of Education, Jesli Lapus, admitted that the Philippine educational system, which is patterned after that of the United States, is in a “very bad shape”. He pointed out that “the quality of education in the country has sunk to its lowest level” and that “the problem is systematic”. An “intervention” during the formative years could be a solution to the problem, he said. The need for retraining of teachers, particularly in English proficiency, “to arrest the declining quality of education in schools” cannot be overemphasized.
Is it possible that the traditional way of treating the child has negatively influenced the learning outcomes? Yes, it is. When teachers were asked on their perceptions of the child, it was surprising that most of them still regard the child as a “tabula rasa” or a blank slate. This philosophical view was advocated by the English philosopher John Locke at the end of the seventeenth century. Perceiving the child as an empty vessel or a blank slate has many implications for schooling, according to Lillard. If the child’s mind is empty, the teacher is obliged to pour knowledge. She does not need to involve the child actively in the learning process because “empty vessels are passive by nature”. Yet, children learn best when they are actively involved in the learning process.
In the traditional classroom, it is common to see children sitting down for several hours while listening to the teacher standing at the blackboard and imparting her knowledge. Most often, the teacher fails to consider the interests, the learning style and learning pace of the child. Being empty vessels, “there is nothing in them from which interests could stem”.
Further, children are not allowed to make choices and decide for themselves. Teachers and School Administrators choose what should be learned. “People fare better when they can make choices about their lives and environments, not when others have all the control. Traditional schooling does not allow children this control”.
In a Montessori classroom, according to Lillard, “ the child decides what to do when, within limits of what is constructive for the child and good for society. Allowing children this freedom gives them experience in making choices, an important skill for life.”
Dr. Maria Montessori described the child as having an “absorbent mind” and that he has the innate ability to acquire knowledge effortlessly given the “prepared environment”. She developed a “system that worked well with children, rather than against them”. She was a strong believer of Aristotle’s philosophy that “Nothing exists in the intellect which does not first exist in the senses”. Lillard indicated in her book that research findings today have largely upheld Montessori’s major ideas on teaching young children based on her empirical observations.
(For more information about Montessori Education, the writer can be reached at Oneworld Montessori House Tel. No. 253-3191 or visit www.oneworldcebu.com)
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Montessorians also gave workshops to pre-school, elementary teachers from public schools
Hoping to improve the educational system in the city's public schools, the Cebu City Government, the Department of Education and the Association of Montessorians in Southern Philippines (AMSP) are joining hands to train preschool, daycare and elementary teachers.
Around 60 preschool, day care and elementary school teachers gathered for a 10-day workshop starting last week at the Oneworld Montessori House along Salvador Extension in Banawa, Cebu City.
The seminar/workshop trains the teachers about the Montessori education so they can apply this when classes resume in June.
Handling the seminar/workshop are teachers from Oneworld Montessori House.
The activity is one of the recommendations that Dr. Jocelyn Kintanar, Oneworld administrator and AMSP president, included in her proposal to DepEd and the City Government on how to improve public education in the city.
After submitting the proposal to DepEd and the City, Kintanar sat down with Joy Augustus Young, Cebu City's consultant on education, and DepEd officials to discuss how to go about implementing her recommendations.
The present batch of participants is only part of the projected 290 teachers who will benefit from the program, said Kintanar.
Kintanar said she came up with the idea after noticing that something is lacking in the mainstream educational system.
She said the Montessori method could be a viable alternative to improving literacy of children.
Like all Montessori schools worldwide, Oneworld aims to promote the total development of the child through parent-teacher partnership.
It strives for a holistic development of the child by seeing to his cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual growth.
"We look at the child individually. We respect each child's learning pace and learning style. We implement individualized instruction," Kintanar said.
There are many other things the public school teachers can learn from the Montessori method, she said. This includes mixed age grouping in class; a hands-on learning instead of the textbook approach; the teacher not as center of attraction in the classroom but as a "guide" or "facilitator" only, and many more.
ONEWORLD Website http://www.oneworldcebu.com