Musings on Montessori and life from a teacher/guide/directress
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Beware of Logical Consequences
We had a great book club last Thursday. We were fairly low-key, but even low-key is pretty good for January! We discussed Chapters Five and Six, "Beware of Logical Consequences" and "Focusing on Solutions." I think we've gotten so caught up in "what is the logical consequence" for this situation that we often punish under the auspice of a consequence. Punishment works for awhile, but doesn't help children in the long run. It doesn't make them want to do better next time but only increases feelings of rebellion or worthlessness. Punishment also robs the child of the chance to grow in problem-solving skills, and robs us of the chance to strengthen our relationship with our children. Natural consequences are great, as long as we keep our comments to ourselves. In other words, when the glass of milk is too close to the edge of the table after we've told the child many times to move it to the center and it spills, we don't need to add, "See, I told you it would spill if you didn't move it." What we need to focus on now is the solution: "What do we do when we spill?" Exploring solutions means asking a lot of questions. "What were you trying to accomplish," and "what ideas do you have for a solution?" are good questions to ask when there is misbehavior, after an appropriate cooling-off period. The idea is for discipline to create the opportunity for growth in problem-solving, a chance to develop respect for all, and a way to foster feelings of capability. The goal is to end power struggles and focus on solutions that are empowering for all involved.
I am a Montessori teacher who just completed my 10th year. I feel lucky to have found a calling that incorporates so many of my interests: music, theater, art, literature, and sports. I adore singing, tennis, and gardening. I have three fabulous children ranging in age from 14-21 (all Montessori-educated). Montessori opened up the world for me. I found out I love practical life and making beautiful things, which I have dubbed "Jane Austen Time."