Ever since my first module with educational psychology, I find reading up on experiments on conditioning and reinforcement, fascinating. And naturally, my spirit is a positive cheerleader. I love dishing out praise easily. So believe me, this post and the contents that I’ve been trying to follow is not too easy.
At about 2 years of age, V started excellent focus in her work. And I realized, I wasn’t needed to say , ‘Wow!’ Because, her eyes would light up when she finished the task, before the Wow! That is when I learnt that the sensitive periods and work provide enough intrinsic motivation without need for my empty words.
Why I try to avoid “Good jobs!”
Words of praise become great extrinsic motivators. This is great for people who need an external push. But with children who are already internally motivated, this is not necessary at all.
The joy and accomplishment a child feels on completion of a task is taken away when praise is given precedence.
Maria Montessori stresses the importance of a rich environment that provides the necessary sensorial experiences to a child. What is a rich experience? Something that provides sensory stimuli, introduces something new or helps practice and helps form neuronal connections with older knowledge.
Why rich experiences?
Everything children see, hear, feel, touch, or even smell impacts their brain and thus influences the way they view and interact with their world—including their family, neighbors, strangers, friends, classmates, and even themselves.
Daniel J. Siegel
Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is one of my many favourites. While he observed that infants actually seek environmental stimulation that promotes their intellectual development, he thought that their initial representations of objects, space, time, causality, and self are constructed only gradually during the first 2 years. He concluded that the world of young infants is an egocentric fusion of the internal and external worlds and that the development of an accurate representation of physical reality depends on the gradual coordination of schemes of looking, listening, and touching.… Click to read the rest
Remember the days your house is filled with clutter or you visit an overbearing relative, or the time your parents restricted you from doing something? How did you feel then? The point I’m trying to make is, one cannot flourish, work with purpose or think effectively in an environment we don’t feel completely comfortable of free in. Now that we have established that the child flourishes in a rich environment that she explores and learns from, herself, we realise that the child, a lot like adults needs freedom. Guided freedom or freedom within a framework of limits.Freedom and discipline are two sides of the same coin, and scientific freedom invariably leads to discipline.
“To let the child do as he likes, when he has not yet developed any powers of control, is to betray the idea of freedom.”
Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
We do a great disservice to the developing child if we do’t provide her, some clear boundaries within which she can explore freedom.… Click to read the rest