U is for Undoing

U is for Undoing Uncovers Misconceptions

Sometimes the process of learning involves unlearning mistaken understandings and correcting misconceptions.     Undoing Errors May be Less Necessary in Montessori   Montessori environments are unique learning places in which to make mistakes. Our youngest learners rely on hands-on didactic materials in which they gain impressions of concepts including identifying mistakes when the error…

T is for Teaching

T is for Teaching Targets Learning

George Bernard Shaw couldn’t have been further from the truth when he wrote, “ “He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.” In fact, teaching assists you in acquiring “chains of connected ideas” that deepen your understanding of the material at hand!   Teaching is a Set of Conditions   When asked why I shifted…

S is for self-explanation

S is for Self-Explanation Serves Learning

You might have heard that really smart people talk to themselves.  Wonder why? It might be because they use a neuro strategy of self-explanation that serves their learning and improves comprehension!     Self-Explanation is Self-Instruction   Self-explanation is simply a method of self-instruction of talking through a procedure or making connections of what is…

R is for Rewards

R is for Rewards Recoil Learning

Rewards can shape behavior by providing incentives for performing certain behaviors.  Use of extrinsic rewards, such as money, gold stars, or candy, can have unintended consequences.  These include reducing performance by singularly focusing effort on the reward, or making behavior dependent on receiving a reward rather than increasing or enhancing understanding.   Rewards are Either…

Q is for Questions Quicken Learning

As a Montessori Upper Elementary guide of 9-12 year olds, I swear, my students likely thought I didn’t know anything!  I was always asking questions and when an inquiry came my way from a student, whether or not I knew the answer, my response was usually, “I’m not sure, let’s go look that up.”  What…

P is for

P is for Participation Promotes Purpose

So much of what we do as Montessori educators is proscribed from the annals of Dr. Montessori and passed down generationally through our training to become certified guides.  This entire blog series seeks to uncover why what we do works and how we might enhance our practices to improve student learning outcomes.  This week’s focus…

O is for Observation

O is for Observation Occurs Naturally

Learning by watching others is called observational learning, something every Montessori practitioner experiences every day!   Observation Through Millennia   People can often learn a lot just by watching others perform a task.  In fact, this kind of learning is what has propelled mankind for millennia and is thought to be behind the concept of…

N is for Norms

N is for Norms Enable Learning

Norms are the unwritten rules and behaviors that govern social settings and interactions, such as raising your hand to get the teacher’s attention.  Establishing classroom norms that support learning can make an environment more effective for teaching.   Norms Are Not Normalization   Norms do not regulate behavior, they regulate conduct.  For example, the normative…

M is for Making

M is for Making Meets Montessori

Making involves producing something.  Whether you write a poem, create a garden, or assemble an electronic kit, “making” is the idea is that you are engaged in an activity that requires creating something and learning takes place as one investigates how to do it, encounters roadblocks, and need to solve problems.     Making Meets…

L is for Listening

L is for Listening and Learning Surge Synergy

Listening is a Key Practice in Collaborative Learning Environments   When students use the learning strategies of listening and sharing with others, their collaboration leads to problem solving and completed tasks.  Better yet, effective collaborative learning environments can alleviate a student’s frustration and “allow group learning to surpass what would be possible by a single…