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Philosophy Essay

1842 words - 8 pages

In this essay I intend to write about the relationship between discipline and obedience from the Montessori perspective and how both these virtues are related in the development of the will.
The word discipline traditionally means the enforcement of rules and orders through force and punishment. “It is the practice of training people to obey rules and punishing them if they do not” (Wehmeier, 2005). It gives one the impression that discipline has to be enforced upon a person. Though it is a common saying ,”spare the rod and spoil the child “, does this really work? . Must children be caned and made to be silent and afraid of their teacher who moves at his/her pace expecting every child to ...view middle of the document...

In order for this inner discipline to emerge, the child’s inner needs and the ‘sensitive periods’ must be satisfied.’ Sensitive periods’ is the term Montessori used to describe the transitory time in a child’s life when he/she develops a strong spontaneous desire to learn and master a particular skill. A child can learn more easily at this time and enjoys repeating some actions like going up and down steps again and again without getting tired. Children also have an innate desire to do things for themselves and be independent. Montessori classrooms and materials are designed to cater for and meet these needs. The Montessori classroom is governed by the principles of freedom within limits. Children are encouraged to move and manipulate their environment through work with his/her hands. The child has freedom to move, explore, interact, rest, make mistakes, discover ,to express him/herself , freedom from interruption, freedom to choose activities he/she desires to do guided by his/her sensitivity, and freedom to repeat until his/her needs are nourished. However, giving a child freedom does not mean that he/she can engage in destructive/harmful activities, total freedom can lead to chaos. The physical and emotional safety of both the group and the individual should be given priority in the learning environment.
The teacher’s role is to guide this freedom and to intervene to prevent a child from offending or hurting others. The introduction of ground rules is also very important in the learning environment. Ground rules are rules that set boundaries for socially acceptable behaviors. They should be simple and followed by everyone including the adults. They should be there to act as a guide and not to control. The ground rules should also be introduced in a positive way for example in addition to lessons that teach social graces/classroom etiquette. These lessons like how to walk, talk and carry apparatus in the classroom not only equip the children with essential everyday skills that are important in the learning environment, but also indirectly teaches them to be self-disciplined and be in control of their movements and actions.
Discipline, respect and freedom with responsibility are key elements of the ‘favorable environment’. The term ‘favorable environment’ means, a setup carefully prepared and adopted to the children´s needs where they can engage in purposeful activities that are stimulating and offers freedom within limits at the same time. There are three elements of the favorable environment. First the physical environment, where everything is child sized and light to support easy movement in the classroom and easy access to the learning materials. Secondly the intellectual environment with auto-didactic materials arranged in careful graded sequence with control of error to encourage independent learning. Thirdly the social and emotional environment where peers of mixed ages and adults are essential part of it (social cohesion ). The...

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