Mittwoch, 2. April 2014

To Educate the best - Education at its best

This post is inspired by the education of two gifted kids at home. The question is how to educate them. The answer reflects education at its best.
So what do you do if you want to educate the best? First of all, you have to define who “the best” is for you! It would be most convenient to take the potential that is right in front of you: so take your own children, your kindergartners, your students and start with them to educate “the best”. In defining your best, you have taken the first step!
The second issue is about attitude: attitude towards the future, attitude towards learning, attitudes towards rules and regulations, etc. You may be well aware that it is about your positive attitude we are talking about: your attitude towards education, your attitude towards educating your best, your attitude towards being a role model and your attitude towards having fun being an educator!
Third, we are talking about needs.
In family life most challenges center on the question: whose needs are met? The solution is: Everybody´ s needs are met! The Gordon Parent Effectiveness Training[1] helps you to achieve this, especially in times of trouble.
What about the needs issue in institutional education as in preschools and elementary schools?
How can you identify childrens´ needs and satisfy them? Here, observation enters the scene. Observe your infant, toddler, kindergartner: what is he interested in, what are his self-chosen activities? Laewen, Andres & Pesch call them “Themen der Kinder” (childrens´subjects) (Laewen, Andres & Pesch 2005, 17) in contrast to all those activities that adults think to be important for the young ones, usually published in some kind of curriculum: these are the adults´subjects that we choose (Laewen, Andres & Pesch 2005). According to the authors both are valid education starting points. Our adult task in all this is to design and enhance the environment (prepared environment in Montessori Education[2]) and to structure the interaction with the child as a dialogue.
How can you deal with the needs of your secondary and college students? Try to involve them in the classroom activities as much as possible. Set up meaningful learning experiences and let them take part in the subject search and the organizational process. Let them work on bigger or smaller projects depending on their inquiry skills. Teach them inquiry methods if the need arises and be at hand whenever you are needed, for subject or relationship matters. Let them present their results. Evaluate the outcome with the whole group. Be a true learning guide, a role model and coach. Have fun investigating, coaching and learning. 
That´s the way "To educate the human potential" (Montessori)!

Andres, B., Laewen, H.-J. & Pesch, L. (Hrsg.). (2005). Elementare Bildung:  Handlungsk
onzept und Instrumente (Band 2). Weimar: das netz. Available on [4/2/2014]

Montessori, M. To Educate the Human Potential. [4/2/2014]

[1] [4/2/2014]