Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Highlight of Montessori's approach to early years practice part I

Have read this book 'Bringing the Montessori approach to your early years practice' in the last two weeks and found it really interesting and think it is my idea of early education should be today, however it isn't very popular in England.

I made notes on the background of Montessori and the Montessori early years curriculum plus how it links to the foundation stage, however due to my poor English so I only did it in author's own words - Barbara Isaacs and I will reference the book in the end.

Maria Montessori's own life is closely linked with the political, social and economic changes that resulted from the unification of Italy in the year Montessori was born, 1870. Maria joined the public school in Via de San Nicola da Tolentino at the age of six, in 1876, the year before primary education had become compulsory in Italy. By the time Montessori graduated at the age of twenty she was interested in biological sciences and was determined to study medicine, a path not followed by a woman in Italy before. Having achieved the Diploma de License in the spring of 1892 with the high grade of 8 out of 10. Montessori was eligible to study medicine at the University of Rome. Montessori's years of study were challenging in every aspect: her father disapproved, she was ridiculed by her fellow students and she also hated dissection, which she had to perform in the evenings. In the last year of her studies, like the rest of her fellow students, she gave a lecture to the class, it was attended by her father. Montessori's success had ended six years of rejection and criticism. In 1897 she was asked to visit Rome's asylums, and this led to meeting the 'idiot children' who were to change her life. Montessori's experience of these children collecting crumbs from the floor once they had eaten had led her to consider the fact that perhaps they behaved in this way because they were bored. They had nothing to play with! In 1900, Montessori again enrolled to study at the University of Rome. She continued her interest in psychology and prusued Seguin's theory of educating the senses through concrete experiences. In Naples in 1902 she presented her own ideas about the possibility of the education of 'unteachable children'. she made links between the two theories exploring the notion of training of the senses and the importance of approaching abstraction through concrete forms a child could see and touch (Kramer, 1976). This was the basis for later development of the Montessori apparatus and sensorial materials that she called 'materialised abstractions'.

The first Montessori nursery

In 1906 Montessori was asked to look after children of migrant workers who lived in the tenements of the San Lorenzo district of Rome. Her work with these children laid a foundation for what we know today as the Montessori approach to education. In 1907 Montessori observed the children's reactions to their new environment without any pre-conceived ideas of what would happen. These observations provided opportunities to understand better the children and the materials themselves - this was, what we call today, action research. Montessori's observations gave her a further insight into the nature of children and formed the basis of the discoveries explained in her first book The Montessori Method, which was published in Rome in 1912. In this book Montessori described children as:

  • being capable of extended periods of concentration
  • enjoying repetition and order
  • revelling in the freedom of movement and choice
  • enjoying purposeful activities (preferred work to play)
  • self-motivated, displaying behaviours that did not require wither punishments or rewards
  • taking delight in silence and harmony of the environment
  • possessing personal dignity and spontaneous self-discipline
  • being capable of learning to read and write

It was these discoveries that made Montessori believe that these characteristics represented the potential of humanity. She advocated that all children should be given the opportunity to 'reveal themselves' in a developmentally appropriate environment that would facilitate their natural growth and development.

Between 1907 and 1914, when World War 1 broke out, interest in Montessori education flourished and many opportunities were opened to Montessori to promote her unique view of children and their learning. By 1914 there were hundreds of Montessori schools established in Europe, North and South America as well as India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. She died in the netherlands at the end of the summer of 1952 wanting to be known as a citizen of the world.

cited from: Isaacs, B. (2007). Bringing the Montessori approach to your early years practice. David Fulton. Oxon

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Time Limited Exam and Speed of Handwriting

Everyone is trying to tell me to forget about the exam and move on, however I have very personal belief that you can learn better and avoid from the mistake that you made. When I look back on things I did, I can have ideas that I won't make same mistake again and what can I do to make different. Especially I still got exams to come in the future, if I don't solve the problem that I have now, when is the best time then??!!

With all the learning theories that we had learnt and told, I can understand why and how we learn and behave. In my person learning style, Piaget's theory comes in my head that he believe we learn from personal experience and as individual active learner. What happened in the exam, was that I spend too much time to think and constructure my answers although we kind of knew what areas that exam cover, but when the questions come out, I still want to answer to the question critically. There are so much knowledge in my lead, shouting to me, it want to get out, however my handwriting came in the way!! I didn't know that I am a slow writer until I heard that everyone had wrote so many pages in the exam.

That's why now that I am sitting in front of my desk and writing this post on my blog. I am disappointed with my exam, not because I havn't got the knowledge or didn't know how to answer the question, is becuase I run out the time. If education is made to suit everyone, is made to help people to have more knowledge, is made to make you learn more, then why create the exam which doesn't suit everyone, doesn't really give people chance to show what knowledge they got, doesn't help with the individual learning??

I don't have any disability so I can't have extra time which is fair, but what if I could get extra time because of I am a slow handwriting person. Some people would have extra time due to the difficulties with reading which slow them down in the exam. What about the people who can't physically write fast?? I WONDER!!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Poverty and welfare state - five evils

This is the video that I found on youtube which is very good if you are a virual learner like me.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Half way there to my goal of life

It's so fast that I can't believe that I am half way to achieving my goal of life. In my childhood experience, I always be told that I have to study hard, get a degree to get a better life or a better future or a better husband!! Play wasn't part of my childhood experience same as most of other children in Taiwan. Music, art, fashion subjects weren't even a option for us, because those subjects are classify as low class with low pay and no future. When I start on this course, I have learnt so much that open my eyes and my mind. I thought I already have culture shock when I married to John, well I had even bigger culture shock of how I am going raise my children here. It's totally up side down with my belief of how my father raised me and my old culture background. I am glad that I have chosen this course and met so many wonderful people on the course.
Gosh, I am so nervous going to Warwick, but not because there will be more hard work. it's because of new environment and new tutors. It's just like first day of school experience for me, sounds very funny but I really feel this way. And somehow I just want grab someone I know with me, so I don't have to face it alone. I am 35 years old, I can't understand how this is happening to me. However as a mother, I have to set a good, brave example for my children, so I guess I would have to hide my feeling.....

Friday, 27 March 2009

My mind map of Brian's essay

Just done the mind map for Brian's essay but not sure if I am thinking the right direction of how to tackle it. If anyone have any comments or suggestions after reading it, I will be very happy to have it, please.

A video to share and give more understanding of whole attachment theories

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Some reading about attachment theory

What is Attachment?
Attachment is an emotional bond to another person. Psychologist John Bowlby was the first attachment theorist, describing attachment as a "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings" (Bowlby, 1969, p. 194). Bowlby believed that the earliest bonds formed by children with their caregivers have a tremendous impact that continues throughout life. According to Bowlby, attachment also serves to keep the infant close to the mother, thus improving the child's chances of survival. The central theme of attachment theory is that mothers who are available and responsive to their infant's needs establish a sense of security. The infant knows that the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for the child to then explore the world.

Characteristics of Attachment:

Safe Haven: When the child feel threatened or afraid, he or she can return to the caregiver for comfort and soothing.
Secure Base: The caregiver provides a secure and dependable base for the child to explore the world.
Proximity Maintenance: The child strives to stay near the caregiver, thus keeping the child safe.
Separation Distress: When separated from the caregiver, the child will become upset and distressed.

Ainsworth's "Strange Situation"

In her 1970's research, psychologist Mary Ainsworth expanded greatly upon Bowlby's original work. Her groundbreaking "Strange Situation" study revealed the profound effects of attachment on behavior. In the study, researchers observed children between the ages of 12 and 18 months as they responded to a situation in which they were briefly left alone and then reunited with their mothers (Ainsworth, 1978). Based upon the responses the researchers observed, Ainsworth described three major styles of attachment: secure attachment, ambivalent-insecure attachment, and avoidant-insecure attachment. Later, researchers Main and Solomon (1986) added a fourth attachment style called disorganized-insecure attachment based upon their own research. A number of studies since that time have supported Ainsworth’s attachment styles and have indicated that attachment styles also have an impact on behaviors later in life.

Characteristics of Attachment:

Characteristics of Secure Attachment
Securely attached children exhibit minimal distress when separated from caregivers. Remember, these children feel secure and able to depend on their adult caregivers. When the adult leaves, the child feels assured that the parent or caregiver will return.
When frightened, securely attached children will seek comfort from caregivers. These children know their parent or caregiver will provide comfort and reassurance, so they are comfortable seeking them out in times of need.Characteristics of Ambivalent Attachment
Ambivalently attached children usually become very distressed when a parent leaves. This attachment style is considered relatively uncommon, affecting an estimated 7-15% of U.S. children. Research suggests that ambivalent attachment is a result of poor maternal availability. These children cannot depend on their mother (or caregiver) to be there when the child is in need.Characteristics of Avoidant Attachment
Children with an avoidant attachment tend to avoid parents or caregivers. When offered a choice, these children will show no preference between a caregiver and a complete stranger. Research has suggested that this attachment style might be a result of abusive or neglectful caregivers. Children who are punished for relying on a caregiver will learn to avoid seeking help in the future.

Problems with Attachment:

What happens to children who do not form secure attachments? Research suggests that failure to form secure attachments early in life can have a negative impact on behavior in later childhood and throughout the life. Children diagnosed with oppositional-defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) frequently display attachment problems, possibly due to early abuse, neglect, or trauma. Clinicians suggest that children adopted after the age of six months have a higher risk of problems with attachment. While attachment styles displayed in adulthood are not necessarily the same as those seen in infancy, research suggests that early attachments can have a serious impact on later relationships. For example, those who are securely attached in childhood tend to have good self-esteem, strong romantic relationships, and the ability to self-disclose to others. For more information, see this articles on attachment styles.

information cited from: Attachment Theory: An Overview of Attachment Theory
By Kendra Van Wagner,

How do we see ourself?

During the last few weeks, we came across many topics that involved exclusions, culture differences, identity, etc. It started many argument with different views and opinions with the topics. I personally found that people in this country are living under the threat that what can you say, what can you think. As long as you say the words such as black, racist...., people will jump up and get offended by the people who said the words. But why, why you should be afraid what you said and what your opinion is? Talk about self-concept, is about how do you see yourself. If you see yourself different, how can you expect that other people look at you the same and not treat you differently. I wonder.
I always believed that I am who I am, I can't change how I look, I can't change my skin colour, I can't change where I was born or who my parents are, so why I should see myself different then other people. When I talked about my language barrier with my English, I was talking about the fact and not feel shame or feel that I am lower then anybody. However with people who hasn't got the strong self-awareness or self-concept, self-esteem, they always see or think other people treat them differently because of their colours or religions.
And most of all, I got HOMESICK, even though I got no problem living in England because here is my home now, my husband, my daughters are here but I still miss my other families, my dad, my brother, my uncle.... a lot. I miss the food as well, once you lived in Taiwan and experience the food and culture, you will miss it forever!!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

yes, my country project is finished !!(not include the reference)

Finally, my country project is finish but not according to my old plan anyway. I show it to my friend and she thinks that she knows Taiwan a lot more after reading it so I presumed it isn't too bad, I hope!!
We had meeting with tutor from Warwick university today, it wasn't too bad but we didn't get the information that we hope to get such as the list of optional module and advise on what we should chose. We will have to wait until eastern to find out! I am prepared for the work to come when we go to Warwick and can't wait to go and quite nervous/exciting about different setting and teaching.
It will be very sad to say goodbye to our tutors in college, we are naturing by them, I am planning to come back to see them anyway so it shouldn't feel too bad after we leave.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

what the mess!!

When I got the country project assignment from Lin, I though I knew what am I going to do with my project. So I've done my research and waiting to put it up together, however everything went out of the window, everything caught up with me, I felt lost and drain.
I feel that I should give up my GCSE English to save my degree course, as carer of three children with most of needs and mother of two children, I can't keep up to attend my night time course.
Everything is going so wrong at the moment, I wish the course of this year finish soon and I can restart my life and my study.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Interesting education history and future video to share

From doing my ethnography research, I found this video which show the old time education and what's future education going to be? (Also used part of it in my presentation)
you can see the way of learning and teacher attitude/classroom behaviour changes over the time.

Activity Starters - Teaching Past, Present and Future

If you are interest on 1950s school days, then this video may help you to have more ideas about 1950s education. (I used part of it in my ethnography research presentation as well)

School Days - Ashmead Community School, Reading

Thursday, 19 February 2009

How does Steinbeck create the feeling that George and Lennie may be doomed?

In this piece of writing, I am going to discuss that how Steinbeck created the feeling that George and Lennie may be doomed. John Steinbeck was the writer of the time back in 1930s in America. In his novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ written in 1937 that reflects the historical background of the time and his personal interest of outdoor, animals and individual human beings. Each theme of ‘Of Mice and Men’ shows how much George and Lennie wants to achieve their dream but somehow bad things always happen to them. George and Lennie are examples of the farm workers who had the dream of a better life and future during the difficult time after the First World War in USA.

Steinbeck tried to create a theme that a perfect dream can come true which basically built on two people with two completely different personalities. However on another hand, he gave miserable endings for every time he mentioned the dream. Steinbeck gave Lennie an uncontrollable and a childish personality, a weak mind with a strong physical figure and a soul that needs somebody else to reinsure the safety and belongingness. George is the person in change within the relationship between Lennie and himself. He is the one that determined to achieve his dream for a better life no matter what it takes and keep Lennie out of trouble so they can both stay in their dream, “The hell with the rabbits. That’s all you ever can remember is them rabbits. O.K.! Now you listen and this time you got to remember so we don’t get in no trouble.” (p.5). Steinbeck mentioned so many times that George and Lennie’s dream to have a small farm for George to own and soft animals for Lennie to look after. However he also wrote how Lennie always ended up killing soft animals by uncontrollable caring. It started from small animals such as mice and carried on happening to the bigger animals such as rabbits and dogs, finally a human being- a woman. All these events happened throughout the book that shows Steinbeck tried to create a feeling that George and Lennie may be doomed. George tried to teach Lennie to control his emotion and physical strength by telling Lennie that he can’t attend the rabbits if he doesn’t control himself well over and over again, “Come on, George. Tell me. Please, George. Like you done before.” (p.15). Lennie believed George for everything he said and relied on George to tell the dream and create the pictures in his head, “Jesus Christ, Lennie! You can’t remember nothing that happens, but you remember ever’ word I say.” (p.117). Moreover another theme of book started to show that George had the feelings that something would go wrong, “I think I knowed from the very first.” (p.107). Therefore he told Lennie that if anything goes wrong, he will meet Lennie by the pool. From this theme that Steinbeck shows the final hint of something terrible would happen and George and Lennie would be doomed in the end.

In conclusion, John Steinbeck wrote this novel started from building up George and Lennie’s hope so high up that give us the hints that it is too good to be true. By writing how badly Lennie’s behaviour with emotional and physical self-control throughout the book that shows Steinbeck is telling us the tragedy ending. In this novel ‘Of Mice and Men’, the relationship between George and Lennie is so strong that George aware that his dream can’t be come true and will doomed with Lennie.

A story by Sam, Georgine, Hazel, Anne-Marie..... and me

The train journey to the land of Latte

Once upon a time, in the land of Latte there was a big yellow mountain with quaver tree with tasty curly leafs that you can pick up and eat when you hungry, there was an old steam train puffing and chugging up and around the mountain to the two snowy top peak, carrying passengers. There were GG the ginger bread girl, Billy the goat, two little pigs, three ugly ducklings and a granny goose in the first carriage of the train. Billy the goat is trying to scary the ginger bread girl, GG about the nasty monster with fire breathe and sharp claws.
Billy tells GG, that the monsters breathe smell of rotten fish and that he does rotten egg trumps. When you smell either of these, you can be sure he is near so you must wish for your lucky guardian power animal. GG was worried that her usually happy smile dropped and she nervously twiddled her red locks. As they travelling along on this beautiful day, the sun stream through the windows, the animals were running up and down the carriage, playing music and everyone was relaxed and happy. Billy was being misctuevious again and pretending he could smell something horrible. “It’s possibly fish”, he said. At that moment, GG got a whiff of something that make her feel sick, she thought her mind was playing trick on her, then she sniffed the air again. Turing to the carriage door, she saw a steamed up window with what looked like a big red eye, as the mist cleared, she saw a pair of sharp pointy teeth then the head moved and she saw a large cat like eye, staring right at her, the smell seeped into the carriage and everyone froze. Granny goose knew who it was and gathered up all her baby animals, ‘come here, my babies, quickly’ she said “Scaley is on the train”. Everyone turned into horror, but GG sat with her eyes shut tightly. Remembering what Billy said and she wished as hard as she could and tried to picture her guardian power animal in her head, her guardian power animal Queenie, the magical unicorn with pink hair and the silver tail from angel land where she saves and protects all precious little people. She appears when you really think hard and imagine her to be there to help. GG opened her eyes and saw green flames gushing out of Scaleys nose and a rotten egg smell filled the air. She turned to see Queenie standing in the aisle, appear as like what she pictured it. Queenie’s beautiful long eyelashes sparkling in a ray of sunshine as she winked at GG reassuring her it was going to be ok.
Queenie flew out of the open window so that Scaley turned to face her. He roared and raised his claws in anger trying to reach her. She danced in the clouds and blew a puff of perfume smoke that covered Scaley so that no one could see him. When the smoke cleared, a little jolly rosy cheeked goblin suddenly appeared and then did a jig up the aisle with his singing “ hey ho tiddley pom, the dragon has had a kick up the bum!” Magically, the Scaley disappear in front of everybody’s eyes then sun came out again and sky became clear blue. Almost right after the lovely weather showed, the train slowed down and came to a stop at the top of the mountain. The passengers got off slowly and still afraid that Scaley might be there. As they stood in the crunchy glistening snow, they saw some small footprints leading to a tree and there sat behind the tree the little goblin eating a curly quaver leaves “yum yum, yum yum” he said shoving a big hand full into his mouth. He looked surprised to see everyone standing around. He seemed embarrassed, the coughed and cleared his throat, then in a quiet voice he said “thank you, thank you” and stood up. He said excitedly “You have set me free, I had spell cast on me and you helped to release me”. He then jumped up and climbed the tree, throwing tasty curly leaves for everyone to eat. They all ate until they were stuffed and fell asleep in the sunshine, until it was time to get on the train again.

The End.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

1950s education and childhood in England part ii

I am so glad that I've finished my presentation for ethnography research today. Although I used so many videos from different resources at least I got most my points cross through new way of presenting. I have to admit that I hated it's ICT tech from the beginning but I became really enjoy in the end.
After the presentation, we were talking about how the exam system worked differently with different teachers and personal circumstance such as parents and financially can't afford to carry on the education in 1950s.
'Gate keeper' is the word that Brian mention today in the class. Although the exam system was available to children who were academic doing well then if the teacher didn't put you through the exam then you would miss the chance to achieve higher education. It's like put every child into the pot, you go here, you go there, the child's future lay on the point of finger of the teacher in 1950s.
Looking at today's education system, children have much more chances to achieve their academic goal and individual educational needs. Many more legislation such as Every Child Matters 2004, Education and Skills Act 2008, Childcare Act 2006 etc. all provide children stay better chance for their education and future. Even though it comes long way to get to this stage, again I think the children are so lucky today.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Busy or Lazy ??

It's been so long since my last blogging. Let's say that I was really BUSY around Christmas time and new year time. I had six children at the time and trouble came out one after another with foster children but again it's my job so I can't complain too much about it.
There is another reason that I haven't been on the blog is I didn't know what to talk about, I was lost with study. This year is my second year and I should have more commitment to the course but somehow I felt really disappointed. I love the feeling that I had last year, it was so full of excitement and commitment with all of us but this year, everyone seems to disappear and lost the connection.
I like routines and this year it's no routines at all with the course. Going to the college and get send home or cancel lessons. And I became LAZY!!
Lazy to go college, lazy to do my course work, lazy to read more books about the course, lazy with my blogging.
Well, good job is now I have different thinking, I don't want to hold the things that won't happen, I start to create a new way for my study of the course.
Faith in myself is what I need the most.

Talk about education system and childhood in England in 1950s Part 1

It's always fun when I found out more about the history of education and childhood. The changes through generations are unbelievable huge. Even though I wasn't born in England, I can still find the link with the old education system and discipline and punishment between England and Taiwan. In 1950s, the education was decided to prepared children to work as soon as they can. Not many children had chance to have higher education or to have many choice to pick the job they want. Normally what job that their father had then the son will had the same. Social class was big issue in 1950s, should I say it's always the issue and it never go away. Now with law and government policy that you can't say or do anything against social class, however for some people still care very much about it.
Discipline was important as classroom control is part of job for teacher in 1950s. They believed physical punishment and obey what's told is the way to have control in classroom. Behaviourism was the learning theory at the time and believe or not, it's still the same today in Taiwan where I was born and brought up.
I am just finish my ethnography research presentation in 1950s and there are so much more to talk about.