CONVENER(S): Kathy Roemer, Lamplighter School, Memphis Tennessee
PARTICIPANTS: Suzanna Driebl, Ursula Escuza, Lori Byrn, Ruth Daron, Sandy Bowser, Kathy Bowser, Prabha Williams, Laurie Metz, Livia Adams, Terri Almge.
SUMMARY OF DISCUSSION:
Teachers have a tremendous responsiblitiy to communicate and model characteristics that Montessori education values and teaches students. Some of the adult characteristics that would be idea for teachers to model are: ? Loyalty to School, Dedication ? Willingness to do the best you can (look at the work as a vocation vs a paycheck), ? Confidentiality, ? Ability to listen, ? Understanding of ethics, ? Appropriate Verbal and behavior skills
We discussed the importance of developing a culture in the school which starts from the administration down to the teachers - but also laterally across the teachers and becomes multi-directional to all constituents and will be modeled for students.
Some of the topics discussed were: ? Higher, conscience level of existance rather than survival in the work place, ? Cross training of teachers between levels, especially needed was Early Childhood teachers learning more about Toddler environments (to dismiss the concept that toddler environments are just to prepare students for Early Childhood). ? The use of Role playing for teachers at staff meetings, ? Administrative established protocol for communication between groups (parents/teachers), conflict resolution and disemination of information ? Importance of listening ? The communicated school moto of "We are not looking for blame, we are looking for solutions" ? The highest use of language is for conflict resolution - and this is the hardest to teach adults ? How to develop school culture ? Teacher education programs need to provide more guidance for classroom management and how to find your place in an already established school culture ? The need for and importance of mentoring of new teachers by experienced teachers ? How do you communicate with parents whose first language is not English? ? Toddlers communication through biting when language skills are not yet developed and the analogy to adults and their underdeveloped communication skills with one another. How to teach adults to use words like, "I don't like that" and not offend someone.
Conclusion: ? All adults (teachers, administration, auxilary staff) must be taught how to give respect to members of a Montessori environment, ie. not interupting, soft voice, not distrubing the work cycle, ask before doing, touching, etc. ? There is a need for a conference workshop to be given on "Developing School Culture" ? Developing communication skills is a life long process and needs to be developed with adults in our school communities
Note: ? Most participants in this group went away with new ideas and answers to questions. ? Some were unsure of the open space format but now see how it can work for Montessori Conferences.