From the vantage point of a doctoral student in education leadership and policy, as well as a teacher at a public Montessori, I'm learning and sharing as I go. This is my space to explore the child's interior life, our discoveries as educators, and work of learning together.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Montessori Vocabulary Instruction: The Three Period Lesson, Ages 3-6
In the primary
classroom, it is possible to introduce the elements of culture through stories.
From time to time, it is important to determine if children have associated the
correct vocabulary with their concepts, to express themselves more clearly and accurately
each time. The technique for vocabulary used in the Montessori classroom is
called The Three Period Lesson.
In the Three Period
Lesson, with three cards, the first period is telling the names of the pictures
in isolation. It is formulaic. This is--.There
is no expectation of the child repeating my words. When giving the name, it is
critical that the child is having a typical experience with that object. Before
moving into the second period, I reiterate the names of each.
The second period is
a variety of commands. The commands are also brief. Put the potato here. It should be fun, fast, and offer a lot of
opportunities for the child to interact with the material. If the child is
making errors, reiterate the name. At the end of the second period, the objects
should be in front of the child. As long as the child is interested, continue
the lesson. The child is not expected to say the name at any point here. The
third part is the child saying what it is, What
is this? There is no variation. The confirmation that the task has been
completed properly is if the child told the name of the material correctly.
By the end of the
lesson, if the child does not know them, the teacher must consider what changed
the impact to not being able to comprehend. Did the child not have a connection
to those objects?
It works best if the
objects is already known in their daily life, but if not, a story can introduce
the person or object first.
Any new vocabulary
is introduced with the Three Period Lesson, applicable in all areas of the
Casa. When Dr. Montessori observed how many different concepts were clouding
the child's ability to get a new vocabulary word, she developed a new
vocabulary method which would isolate just the acquisition of the new word. In
Dr. Seguin's work with the cognitively disabled, he did a similar work,
inspiring this method of three periods-- the critical difference is that the
experience, whether real or in a story, comes before giving the concept a word.
The words come as an addition to the abstraction, not preceding that
understanding. The word, at that point, crystallizes the nebulous
understanding. The advantage of adding language means that we can access that topic
at any point after that.
In any lesson, we
never give more than two or three new names. When we pick those two or three
objects for that lesson, we are looking for two kinds of contrast: in the
object itself and in the name.
We give this lesson after a child has had enough experience to
have an understanding of a concept. So, in the context of everyday objects in
the classroom, this activity confirms that they have the right name for this
Three Period Lesson
is the closest to a taught lesson that a
child will ever have. It differs from the typical lesson in that traditional
lessons are given to the whole class on another person's timeline, but this
lesson in the Montessori class is only given individually and only given after
an invitation that the child has the freedom to reject. We know how critical it
is to have accurate vocabulary, and we have to communicate not just to people
who think the same as us, but people who have a very different background. An
accurate vocabulary is more and more critical.