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Helping a Classmate: It’s help! Not Cheating!

Categories: For Parents / General Knowledge Fund / The Montessori Difference

In the picture below, we see Jack, an elder statesman in Mrs. Rogers’s classroom, is helping his younger classmates with their Golden Beads.  This math work is very social by design and is a lesson that children watch for years in the classroom, waiting for their turn.  Here, we see Jack, who has been working with the Golden Beads for quite some time, help a few younger students with a basic arithmetic “problem.” 

 Older children in a Montessori classroom are able to help their peers, act as a mentor, and work through lessons as a teacher, which shows themselves just how well they know a concept.  If a child is able to explain a concept to another, it displays their own knowledge both to the audience, as well as the child doing the explaining!  

 

 

This is one of many enticing aspects of Montessori’s work for conventional teachers that understand and are interested in Dr. Montessori’s work. In conventional school, both public and private, any help is viewed as cheating,  because students have to do their own work.  We hear about this even with seemingly benign aspects like cutting shapes in conventional first grade.  The world needs more people willing and capable of offering help and accepting assistance. We are happy to have classrooms filled with helpers, filled with mentors, and filled with “teachers helpers.”