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Montessori Teaching Method: Behind the Popular Name

25 Jun

Montessori schools are everywhere these days. They are the most popular choice for parents who want their children to receive the best education starting from their very young ages. Montessori schools offer programs for children of all ages, from birth up to eighteen years old.

What is the Montessori Teaching Method?

Montessori teaching methods have been diversified over the decades, but the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS) cite the following practices as fundamental elements in the Montessori teaching method:

  • Mixed age classrooms – children from ages 2 ½ or 3 to 6 years old are mixed in classrooms.
  • Student choice of activity from within the prescribed range of options
  • Continuous blocks of time
  • Discovery model- students learn various concepts while working with materials available to them instead of through direct instructions
  • Specialized educational materials developed by Dr. Montessori and her partners.

Early Beginnings of the Montessori Teaching Method

In 1897, Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator, started to develop her philosophy and methods that would shape the method widely known as the Montessori Teaching Method. She then proceeded to open her first classroom, which she called the Casa dei Bambini. It means Children’s House and it started operating in 1907. The Montessori Method then spread to the United States in 1911, but waned in 1914 after a booklet entitled, The Montessori System Examined, was published. Nevertheless, in 1960, Montessori education returned to the United States and has since then spread to thousands of schools in the country.

The Theory Behind Montessori Teaching Method

According to Dr. Montessori, children and developing adults engage in psychological self-construction through interactions with their environments. This is the first element in the Montessori teaching method. The second element states that children, particularly under the age of six, have an innate path of psychological development.

In 1957, Dr. Montessori’s son, Mario Montessori, identified the human tendencies that govern every stage of development. Such human tendencies are self-preservation, order, communication, exploration, repetition, orientation to the environment and work, among others.

Prepared environment is also a fundamental element in the Montessori teaching method. In this method, freedom of activity within a prepared environment allows children to develop independence according to their inner psychological directives.

Categories of the Montessori Teaching Practices

  • Infant and Toddler Programs – For infants until three years old children, these programs provide environments and materials scaled to the size and abilities to develop movement and independence.
  • Preschool and Kindergarten – 2 ½ or 3 to 6 years old children designed for their optimum development. Classroom activities promote practical skills, development of the senses, language, music, and more.
  • Elementary – Caters to ages 6 to 12 years old children, this program includes a trained teacher handling a group of children in a classroom setting.
  • Middle and High School – Some Montessori schools include this bracket, but usually located in the countryside.

Today, the Montessori teaching method is widely practiced in most countries. The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS) provide training for teachers using materials and presentations developed by Dr. Montessori. These organizations uphold the integrity of the authentic Montessori teaching method and continue to provide support to all Montessori schools throughout the world.

Are Traditional Teaching Methods Still Effective?

25 Jun

Education has been an integral part of human life as eating and sleeping. It has shaped so many generations for thousands of years and remains doing so in our present. These days, however, technology has changed so many things as well as the manner we digest information. Digital tools, such as computers, audio and visual tools, are slowly replacing traditional teaching methods.

What Are Traditional Teaching Methods?

Before we tackle the issue of technology as replacing conservative traditional teaching methods, we must first discover the basics of traditional teaching methods. The three main types of methods used in traditional education are as follows:

  • Lectures and Direct Instruction

Traditional teaching, as most of us have experienced, is classroom-based and consists of lectures and direct instructions conducted by the teacher. This teacher-centered method emphasizes learning through the teacher’s guidance at all times. Students are expected to listen to lectures and learn from them.

  • Seatwork

Tests are the most significant indicator of student performance and degree of learning. Students who belong in the same class sit down and take a single set of examinations, which they should pass. Most of the examinations are taken from fundamental resources, such as textbooks and other publications that are relevant to the subject.

  • Listening and Observation

Teachers talk to the students about the subject matter and expect them to learn everything through the lectures held in the classroom.

Pros and Cons of Traditional Teaching Methods

Traditional teaching has been around for thousands of years, shaping the minds of so many scholars, workers and ordinary men and women. At a young age, a person is expected to attend a formal education, which involves a teacher and a set of students convening in a classroom. Through formal education using traditional teaching methods, students learn what they needed to succeed in the real world. The advantage of obtaining an education in a classroom setting is that a student receives formal education and learns to focus on the subject at hand. While traditional teaching has been a tried-and-tested method, it also has some disadvantages, particularly today that technology has made learning better, more fun and interactive.

Traditional teaching methods may be also deemed restricted to some degree. Traditionally, classroom settings are teacher-centered where the teacher often talks at the students instead of encouraging them to interact, ask questions or make them understand the lesson thoroughly. Most classes involve rote learning, where students depend on memorization without having a complete understanding of the subject. Just by passing the tests, consisting of descriptions, matching and other forms of indicators are all that matter to complete the curriculum. Long lectures and dictations, rote memorization and little interaction in the classroom often leave students less attentive and less engaged. They are prone to skipping classes and missing lessons altogether. Moreover, students in a traditional class have little opportunity to interact with their classmates or their teacher.

Conclusion

While traditional teaching methods are often compared and criticized nowadays because of the incorporation of technological advances in modern teaching methods, one cannot remove traditional methods entirely to achieve an effective education. Students and teachers will benefit more if both traditional and modern methods are fused together in order to create a more effective, fun and interactive learning experience.

Best Piano Teaching Methods for Beginners

25 Jun

Teaching piano to a variety of students can be very challenging. The piano teacher needs to evaluate each student’s strengths and weaknesses as well as learn about their personalities and their learning capabilities. A piano is an exquisite instrument and playing it offers a huge diversity of emotions, thoughts, and even personalities. People express their inner selves, their souls, through music and playing the piano is among the oldest and most popular instruments around.

The challenge of teaching beginners, whether children or adults can create a gap between the teacher and student thus, it affects the level of learning for the student. However, many piano lessons have proven effective and music teachers have succeeded in teaching even the less inclined student. Well, this is because of the piano teaching methods that the teacher employs.

Every student is different from the other and the piano teacher recognizes this fact. Therefore, it is completely necessary that the teacher tailor the teaching method according to the student. This way, students digest lessons faster and easier and then retain them for much longer. Instead of sticking to a single piano teaching method, the wise teacher would search for the best method or combination of methods in order to maximize the student’s progress. The following are among the best piano teaching methods in the music scene these days:

 

  • Alfred Method

The Alfred Method focuses on the concept of position playing while using colorful graphics and pictures to enhance the students’ learning experience. They learn to read intervals, chords and progressions, but note reading can be an issue.

  • Bastien Method

The Bastien Method exposes students to techniques earlier in the course. This helps kids and adults develop positive effective techniques to suit their preferences.

  • Clark Method

The Clark Method, also known as the Music Tree, teaches the fundamentals of playing the piano. Students, whether young children or adults, learn the basics of dynamics, counting, phrases and form, among others.

  • Pace Method

The Pace Method provides solid training for piano students. This piano teaching method prepares students earlier for classical repertoire. Note reading and strong intervallic skills are great benefits f the Pace Method. Moreover, it avoids the position playing method, which strengthens the students’ fundamental skills at the onset.

  • Robyn Method

This piano teaching method trains students to read single notes and locate them on the keyboard easily. It also conditions each finger and then puts them together in sequences.

  • Suzuki Method

The Suzuki Method was invented and popularized by its namesake who is a well-known Japanese composer. The Suzuki Method is famous in Japan and the United States and develops students for performances.

  • Rote Method

The Rote Method is an effective piano teaching method that focuses on teaching students the basics of piano playing. It familiarizes the students with the keyboard first before they proceed with the staff.  The student learns hearing, thinking, seeing intervals and harmony on the keyboard and therefore develops a better understanding of piano and music as a whole.

The different piano teaching methods are essential tools in developing students’ abilities and skills in playing the piano. Because of the diversity in learning abilities, personalities and skills of students, such methods will greatly help in mastering each piano lesson.

Music Teaching Methods

25 Jun

 Music plays a significant role in every person’s life. Through music, one can express his or her deepest emotions and feelings, communicating things that only the soul can comprehend. Today, music encompasses a wide variety of genres and continues to grow and influence people around the world. From the classical genre, to rock, pop, country and many others, music has evolved into many things.

The role that music plays in our daily lives has deep roots in the history of humankind. It is for this reason that music and history have been integrated and taught from preschool until postsecondary. Music is a fundamental component of human culture and behavior.

Today’s music education incorporates the application of both Western and non-Western music. Studying the diverse music scene worldwide promotes a well-rounded musical experience.  Music training encompasses several domains of learning, such as the psychomotor domain, the cognitive domain and the affective domain where appreciation for music and sensitivity are involved.

Music education includes playing various musical instruments, singing in small choirs, and learning about the fundamental elements of music and its history. A music teacher’s challenge is the types of approach to use over a diverse group of music students eager to learn music. By using the right type of music teaching methods, a music teacher can teach students effectively and successfully, no matter their personalities, preferences and abilities.

·         Dalcroze Method

The Dalcroze Method is divided into three fundamental concepts: the use of solfège, improvisation and eurhythmics. For this reason, this music teaching method is also called rhythmic gymnastics. It teaches rhythm, structure and musical expression through using movement. The method allows a student to gain physical awareness while letting him or her experience music through kinesthetic methods.

·         Kodaly Method

The Kodaly method is named after a prominent Hungarian music director and composer, Zoltán Kodály. He stressed the benefits of physical instruction and response t music. His teachings incorporate fun and educational framework. It is based n the basic music theory and music notation in various verbal and written forms. The solfège hand signs, music shorthand notation and rhythm solmization are trademarks of Kodaly’s method.

·         Orff Schulwerk Method

The Orff Schulwerk Method was named after Carl Orff, an outstanding German composer. The Orff Schulwerk music teaching method is an approach to music education where a student’s innate abilities engage in rudimentary forms of music by utilizing basic rhythms and melodies. The Orff approach encourages students to improvise while it discourages adult pressure and mechanical drill. Thus, this method furthers self-discovery in students. Carl Orff developed several instruments and modified the glockenspiel, xylophone, drum and metallophone to accommodate the requirements of the Schulwerk courses.

·         Suzuki Method

Shinichi Suzuki developed the Suzuki Method in Japan after the Second World War. The Suzuki Method uses music education as an enriching tool to better the lives of its students. By learning certain character traits and virtues, students learn music just like learning his or her native language. It creates an ideal environment where a student learns through rote training, repetition and timetable-table within a positive environment.

With the above-mentioned music teaching methods, music teachers are able to teach music students music in effective ways.

Types of Teaching Methods

25 Jun

Education plays a huge part in people’s lives. It prepares a person to face the real-world challenges in life through years of education and training since childhood.  Because of the broad diversity of students, whose personalities and abilities differ from each other, teachers face so many challenges in teaching them a huge amount of knowledge. Imparting information to a roomful of students can be hard, but by using a selection of proven teaching methods, it can also be manageable.

To enumerate all the types of teaching methods would be to create a long list of methods. However, in this article, we will discuss the main types of teaching methods used widely in the United States as well as in other countries.

·         Lecturing – As part of the traditional method of teaching students, a classroom lecture has always been the top choice among teachers worldwide. Although technology has made possible numerous alternatives to teaching students, a personal interaction with the students in a classroom setting still holds an important aspect in student learning. Several types of visual aids that the teacher uses to convey information effectively often accompany a typical lecture.

·         Demonstrating – There is no other method that invokes a student’s attention than a physical demonstration. Demonstrations in the classroom can raise students’ curiosity while reinforcing memory retention. Students remember their lessons better when a demonstration has been done in class or outdoors. By proving that a concept can be applied in the real world, students will appreciate it better.

·         Collaborating – Collaborating with fellow students is a great way to interact with one another and learn things while discussing them. Many student collaborations, such as group assignments and team-building activities have resulted in better understanding of the topic as well as improving student participation in class. While working together, students get more excited about the task at hand and through several group discussions, they are able to formulate fresh ideas.

·         Oral Reporting – Oral reporting has been an age-old teaching method that has become even more popular due to its effectiveness in teaching students several necessary skills for them to succeed in the real world. Standing in front of the class and assuming the role of the teacher allows students to take charge of the class and teach their fellow students a certain subject. Not only will they study and master the topic, but they will also practice their oral communication skills.

·         Assignments – Teachers often assign certain tasks to students to take home or accomplish in between periods. Assignments are effective ways to teach students how to conduct self-study as well become independent from the teacher in acquiring information.

Today, teaching methods have become varied and diversified even more with the advent of new technology. Advances in technology have paved way to an increasing number of new teaching methods to help in student learning. Computers, the internet, digital presentations, audio and video lectures and many others are now available for a better learning experience. While such advancements have made things simpler for most teachers and students, traditional teaching methods will remain to play an important role in student education.

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