Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Tao of Management - 7. Militancy

Militancy - Shih

     Bob Messing writes, " In militancy, the manager chooses the way to punishment and execution, command and authority ... and needs the ability to change in order to be effective.  When there is peace, the military manager, even the great military leader, is not needed.  It is not always possible to restore peace in perilous times.  Those who disturb and disrupt are often brought forth by forceful management.  A manager in times of militancy proceeds in an orderly manner.  Ignorant actions result in casualties and loss of valuable associates and outside allies.  Sometimes, a judicious retreat can avoid mistakes.  When order is restored, there is no longer need for punishment and execution.  The manager then rewards meritorious achievement and chastises those of little or no merit.

     The guide in the classroom chooses between natural or logical consequences in any given situation.  Is the natural consequence enough to teach the lesson or do I need to somehow integrate a logical consequence as well?  We obviously do not use 'punishment' in a Montessori classroom or at least do not intend to.  An interesting point to think about from the passage is that when order is restored there is no need for punishment.  So, when a situation happens in the classroom and you are patient enough for it to work itself out, then that is it.  The situation has been worked out and order is restored on its own.

    One time I was having my AMI consultation and the classroom was buzzing nicely.  I was giving lessons and things were happening everywhere as it tends to do.  As I was giving a lesson, several boys got into an argument over a major battleship that they were creating for a presentation.  It got to the point where it was disruptive in that local area of the classroom.  I paused for a moment from my lesson and looked over at the boys.  When they saw me look at them, they quieted down.  Of course, the consultant was watching this whole experience unfold.  While I did feel a little nervous anyway, I just told myself that Montessori taught us  to observe and let the children handle it and to intervene if it seems it is getting out of hand.  How else can a child learn to resolve a conflict if they do not go through the conflict?  All in all, the children ended up resolving the situation on their own.

     During my meeting with the consultant, sure enough she mentioned that experience and how I handled it.  She congratulated me for not intervening, keeping an eye on them and allowing them to have the opportunity to work it out.  I do not share this story with you to pat myself on the back or anything like that because I believe most Montessori teachers do that.  However, I shared it with you because this story is what I thought of upon reading this passage.  I would appreciate and I am sure other's would appreciate hearing stories that you may think of from reading my reflections or Bob Messing's passage.

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