“An online Montessori course”? Many of you may be wondering how one can learn the necessary skills to be a Montessori teacher, from an online platform.
To be honest, I was skeptical of this myself until I embarked on this journey to make online courses.
So why did I want to do it if I was so skeptical? The reason is because I really wanted to reach out to and share the Montessori knowledge with more people who want to learn about “The Child” but cannot do a physical classroom based training for various reasons – already working or busy as a homemaker or not living in the vicinity of the physical training center. I decided to look at the opportunity with an open mind.
When I taught “The Method” up until last month I had actual students sitting in front of me while I taught. I used materials, which the students also used, to learn the presentations. There were many discussions on topics and an exchange of ideas and opinions. The students actually did story telling, etc. and had a hands on experience. I could talk to them and understand their fears and mainly I could motivate them whenever it was needed which is why I had certain concerns when planning out my online course.
I realized however that I have some of these apprehensions because I was ignorant on the technology side. So I decided to find out more about this grey area. Talking with experts in this field and doing a bit of soul searching showed me how I could offer these courses online with the same connection and effect.
In this blog, I would like to share with you some of my apprehensions about the Montessori Method online, which you might have too and the learnings that removed those apprehensions.
Apprehension 1: How will I speak to a screen?
The first recording was odd with no humans. However, soon the desire to share something very important made the lectures flow in ease. The camera no longer intimidated me, questions asked from the past 10 years were ringing in my ears and answers to those fitted seamlessly into the lectures. The lectures have the potential to not only convey the message but also instill reflection and better understanding by watching it repeatedly.
Apprehension 2: How will I share the course materials in an effective way?
The Practical presentations went by smoothly. I realized every detail needed to be shown so I broke down the presentations and emphasized on the details. The videos are now self explanatory and easy to learn from. Details include the materials needed as well as the steps for the presentation. These will be given in a PDF and the students can put together these materials and practice at home. Some of the presentations however include Montessori material. In this case, the students can volunteer in a Montessori school and practice. The advantage of the videos is that students can watch the videos over and over again during the duration of the course and imbibe all the nuances.
Apprehension 3: How will we share ideas, opinions and ask questions?
The experts introduced me to the use of webinars. This seemed like a perfect answer to my question on exchange of ideas, opinions and questions. Asking questions is very important for the learning process. So I have decided to do periodic webinars. I also realize that a lot of students may not be familiar with webinars. So it will be my responsibility to make them familiar and comfortable with it.
Apprehension 4: How will I evaluate the students?
I strongly feel that the assignments were what really transformed the students for the last 10 years, so I intend to have many hands on assignments for the online course as well. These assignments, I realized, can be of any nature. The student teacher will perform it, record it and send it. I can then review it and send them feedback. This will give them hands on learning opportunities.
Observations are also a very crucial part of the course, which will stay in the online course too. I can have assignments for music, child psychology and nutrition too!!!!!
Apprehension 5: How will I form a personal connection with the students?
As far as the personal connect goes, choosing a platform to host my course was crucial. The students will be able to connect with me through email on the group as well as personally. So my connection with the students will be there on a personal level and I can motivate them until they graduate.
An added bonus in the online course is the reference material, which includes interviews, paperwork, etc. This will help the students understand the method and give them a host of ideas to use in the classroom.
Completely convinced: (No apprehensions!!!)
So ultimately I can say that it is possible to teach anything on the online platform effectively, provided the content is thought through and easy to understand and the connect with the student maintained.
I had a great time recording the course and am so excited to start on July 15th. I am sure through this journey of virtual teaching the philosophy will reach many more people, creating a wonderful world for our children.