Tag: classroom

Non-Invasive Teaching

by Carmen Gamper)

“Non-Invasive Teaching” describes a variety of teaching modalities which avoid giving direct orders such as “Come to the blackboard and show me…”, and group orders, such as “Now we are all opening up our books…”. Carmen Gamper developed the guidelines for “Non-Invasive Teaching” based on Maria Montessori, Klaus Dieter-Caul, Reggio Emilia, and Rebeca and Mauricio Wild’s approaches.

Educators can respect the unique physical, emotional, and intellectual state of an individual child by using a variety of teaching skills and tools.

a. Prepare Self-Directed Learning Environments and Provide Hands-on Learning Materials.
Environments can inspire the natural acquisition of academic, practical and social skills. The classroom becomes a ‘third teacher’.

b. Let Children Play.
Prepare environments for pretend play, dramatic play, imaginary play, block play, and movement play. Don’t interrupt children’s free play unless it is necessary – learning and emotional processing is occurring during play. ASSIST free play with clear boundaries and guidelines, e.g. A child plays the director: “You are the king, you are the cook and I will be the princess.” Ask all children involved, if they would like to play the assigned roles, or if they prefer to do something else. Often the weaker, more quiet children can get overwhelmed by the louder children who are ‘playing out’ TV-experiences.

c. Nourish Genuine Curiosity and Willingness to Learn.
 Offer group and individual lessons by asking each child if he/she would like to participate. Only the children who are genuinely interested join the lesson. This way disciplinary issues are minimized, and the teaching remains non-invasive.

d. Let Children Imitate You.
Collaborate with the children’s natural instinct of imitation. Show the new concept or skill as often as needed. Narrate your activity step by step, and give instructions in simple terms. By narrating simultaneously, terminology becomes clear and can be correctly absorbed.

e. Have Time and Patience for Learning Processes.
Steps in the learning process are not seen as mistakes that need to be corrected immediately, but as precious steps in the process of acquiring a new skill. When the child is shown the correct way again, he/she receives a chance to self-correct.

f. Use Non-invasive, Non-manipulative Language.
E.g. Instead of “Look at this house!”, you can say “What do you see?” . Asking friendly questions, accepting a different point of view, and also allowing a child to say “No” to specific things, are inherent parts of respect.

g. Compassion, Empathy and Authentic Communication Instead of Punishments and Rewards.
Punishments can create deep, unforgettable wounds and can condition a child for life. Of course, educators need to state boundaries and expectations. However this can happen in kind ways by informing a child as often as needed, and help re-directing a child’s behavior. Kathryn Kvols developed simple and efficient guidelines for developing healthy relationships with children. Her website “Redirecting Children’s Behavior”


Montessori and Waldorf: the Yang and Yin of education

Montessori and Waldorf education are both founded in deep respect for the child, and they can complement each other when applying Inspired Self-Directed Learning. They are an example of the Yin and Yang-energy in education. Montessori education supports the practical, academic and intellectual development of the child extraordinarily well. Whereas Waldorf schools lay emphasis on the creative and spiritual development. Both approaches are needed to assist children in reaching their full potential joyfully.

Here’s an example: Montessori called the child’s activity ‘work’, because she saw that the children she worked with enjoyed ‘real-life’ activities, such as cooking, cleaning and planting and they lost interest in pretend play. Children today however, are often ‘pretend-play-deprived’! They need prepared environments where they can ‘play out’ their real-life and TV-experiences as a way to process tension and emotions.
I am currently assisting a Montessori-school in the East San Francisco Bay, to create a play therapy space as an offer for specific children. This is a step towards acknowledging that pretend play is a way of healing, and needs to be part of a complete elementary curriculum.

Another example: I am currently tutoring a 13-year-old girl from the Marin/North Bay who is going to Waldorf school. I am assisting her academic and intellectual development with Montessori materials, mostly in math and grammar. Within a few weeks, the girl made extraordinary progress because she could see and touch basic concepts such as addition, division, fractions etc. She also regained joy and self-esteem by finally ‘grasping’ what had been a confusing thought construct. At Waldorf schools academic subjects are taught in a very traditional way, the teacher talking, the children at desks being taught in a group. Children are divided by age and sometimes by skills, so they don’t have the opportunity to learn from each other. Additionally, Waldorf-schools don’t offer the hands-on learning materials they have in Montessori-schools.

In “Inspired Self-Directed Learning” children can have the full spectrum of educational tools available, depending on the willingness of the teachers to educate themselves and provide them. Feeding the genuine curiosity of a child, and keeping the joy of learning alive through an inspiring environment and intentional lessons to choose from, supports the natural development of children towards their full potential as compassionate self-directed beings.

New Learning Culture can assist any school in including additional learning opportunities. Please get in touch. No budget is too small. info@newlearningculture.com

With joy,
Carmen Gamper