The Tendencies of Humans Having discovered Dr. Maria Montessori’s internationally proven educational philosophy — early in life, I still find myself experiencing daily, “ah-ha” learning moments working with the students and parents in my school. So much of what takes place in an authentic Montessori environment is predicated on the guiding key principles and characteristics that Dr. Montessori developed after many years of observing children. Montessori is an educational philosophy that supports a student’s innate curiosity and freedom to question, encouraging adaptability and independence. A true Montessori education provides students with the skills needed and offers the opportunity for authentic learning. Authentic learning focuses on real-world multidisciplinary problems and solutions, which is an important educational strategy for equipping students with 21st century skills. Although authentic learning is considered a broad educational practice, through current research, the following common components have emerged: 1. Learning activities represent real-life problems often with a personal frame of reference; 2. Basic knowledge and complex metacognitive skills combine to solve the open-ended problems; 3. Varied sources and perspectives 10 www.imaginekidsmagazine.com
By Munir Shivji
are incorporated into the solutions; 4. Having a community of learners facilitate the work. Authentic learning happens within true Montessori environments. It is helpful to understand Dr. Montessori’s Tendencies of Humans and how they are relevant to the needs of education today. Human Tendencies offers a framework for understanding human development through eleven unique traits that influence us across our lifetime. These tendencies exist within and across the planes of development. In Montessori philosophy, basic human tendencies are the key to appreciating how and why a Montessori classroom calls out to the very soul of the child and provides the opportunities for authentic learning. Dr. Maria Montessori’s Human Tendencies 1. Exploration. Humans are naturally curious. They love to use their senses to learn more about the intriguing world around them. 2. Orientation. People want to know their relationship to the environment around them. When people enter a new environment, they naturally want to look at and touch everything around them. 3. Order. People prefer order to chaos and confusion. Order brings predictability and security.