Teachers are distinguished by their quality, and the fundamental quality that makes the difference is their capacity for observation. This ability, the capacity to observe, can only be developed one way -- through practice. When you begin to observe, your observations are either too sparse or filled with every detail. Observation improves as we practice it. It needs to become systematic and meaningful.
You will also need to develop certain personal qualities if you are to observe well. Patience is required, for one may need to look and wait for a long time before seeing anything of consequence. Humility is required, for nothing is too small to absorb attention. It is the little things that become important to note, not the grand changes. Once something is obvious, it is already established in the child. We must also work at having no preconceptions. It is important to suspend judgment when observing children, to write what we see, without making assumptions.
Sustained experience is essential. The more we look, the more we see. Experience gives us the capacity to recognize what is significant and what is not. This takes time. In the beginning we are unable to distinguish between every action and significant action on the part of the child. No one can teach you this. There is no manual. It comes only with sustained and repeated experience and is a skill that may be some years in developing.
Objectivity is also required: to record what we see, and only when the collection of what we see on a daily basis forms a grander picture fo we begin to notice that our observations are not purely practical but have a spiritual dimension to them because through collecting information, incontrovertible, over time, we become aware that we are observing the inner life of the child.
Lastly, we must have faith. We must believe that children have the powers within them which, given favorable circumstances, will allow them to be the masters of their own self-construction. For if we do not truly believe that they are able to do this for themselves, we shall never be able to give them the freedom to do so.
If we do not have faith in the powers that lie within the child, we will believe that everything depends upon, or is generated by, us, and this is too great a burden. If we are unable to make this leap of faith, to have faith in the child, to have faith that they will attach themselves to those things that they need from the environment, then we may just give up searching and miss those first tentative steps that lead a child to fix attention upon some activity.
-- From "The NAMTA Journal Vol. 24, No. 1"


——節錄、翻譯自《北美蒙特梭利教師期刊 Vol. 24, No. 1》


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