Tuesday, 29 March 2016
The Learning Environment
According to Dr Montessori, the learning environment includes the teacher. The Montessori Directress (who are not called ‘teachers’) prepares her lesson plan, clearly determining the objectives. She prepares the environment, ensuring that the learning materials are clean and complete. She welcomes the students to the environment and tells them that they have freedom of choice (within limits).
The students are led by their own desires and are free to take as long as they like on an activity. When they are satisfied, they return the materials to the place on the shelf where they have taken it. Before they return the materials, they ensure that the materials are in order.
When a child is working on one set of material, nobody (not even the directress) disturbs him, even if he is not doing the right thing. The directress will take note and take time to demonstrate the correct way - at a later time. In other words, mistakes are not pointed out immediately. Sometimes, the child discovers the mistake and corrects it himself.
I did not embrace the Montessori way of teaching until the age of 46! I was absolutely amazed! I learned about the stages of child development and their sensitive periods.
How I wish that I have heard of Montessori when my children were still young. Nevertheless, it is never too late to learn something ‘new’. God has a plan. He is never too late. Montessori’s method of education is not new but it was new to me in 1999. Similarly, God’s way is not new but it is new to man when he discovers it. Forgive us LORD for thinking too highly of ourselves.
The Montessori philosophy had left a deep impression in my own development as a teacher of young children. Her philosophy can also be applied to educating adults e.g. a ‘teacher’/mentor should be quick to listen, slow to speak …
Some best practices of the corporate world actually came from the Bible. For example, delegation was practiced by Moses upon the advice given by his father-in-law. Christians sometimes misunderstand that certain good practices are ways of the world.
Father God, give us the mind of Christ to discern and differentiate what is of You and what is of the world. We do not want to throw the baby out with the bath water!
Satan has contaminated God’s word and God’s way. For example, when we admit that we are absent-minded, there could be several kinds of response:
1) The disciple whom God loves know that God is pleased - he is aware of his own human weakness and he is willing to change
2) The superstitious disciple verbally cancels the weakness – he claims God’s promises without making an effort to change
3) The judgmental disciple takes note and becomes prejudiced
When we are among believers, we can quote Bible verses, claiming Bible promises because the people around us are Bible-minded. However, we need to be careful with our words when we are among non-believers.
Satan is capable of twisting and distorting the truth, causing people to be misled, discouraged, distressed, inferior, condemned …
The Holy Spirit prompts us to pray and seek wisdom from God, before we even open our mouth to speak. Thanks be to God!
Story of the seed
The seed represents the Gospel truth planted into the soul of man. The seed will not grow unless it is buried in the ground. When the root sprouts and grows deep into the good soil (the Word of God), it draws nutrients (God’s truth) and transmits it to the respective parts of the growing plant.
Plants need water, sunlight and good soil to grow. They also need the ‘tender loving care’ of a gardener (mentor). Water represents the Holy Spirit (spiritual guidance), sunlight represents the presence of God (spiritual power) and good soil represents the Word of God (spiritual feeding). Under ideal conditions, the plant will flourish and in His time, flowers will blossom, and fruits will ripen. The world will see and taste that the fruit is good. The ultimate FRUIT depends on the ROOT.
If we examine the truth (e.g. how things grow), we can clearly see God’s hand at work. I believe that all the good practices of the corporate world had come from the fundamentals of God’s truth but man seems to take credit / ownership / copyright (whatever the world may call it). How foolish we are!
Dear Father God, how foolish we are! You are the Creator of all things and we still don’t realize it. We can find Your strength in our weakness. The Bible tells us to look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always. 1 Chronicles 16:11
Let us repent, and be renewed and restored, revived to live a God-centered life.
Sometimes, we don’t like people just because we don’t know them. When we spend some time getting to know them we find some reflection of the God who made them. Some things about them may be different, but the thing that is the same is that they are created by God just like us.
Help us to understand others even if they are different. Help us rejoice in the differences and celebrate the diversity of our ‘make-up’. God is amazing! He does not make mistakes!
Father God, bring us into an even deeper understanding of Your unconditional love and of the patience that comes from Christ. Help us to embrace all the good characteristics of the Spirit so that the world may see and know that we are children of God, true disciples of Jesus Christ and LIFE ambassadors to the world.
Lam Yee Ling