Normalization and Deviations
Dr. Montessori used the term normalization to distinguish one of the processes that she saw in her work with children in Rome. This is a process occurs when development is proceeding normally. She used the word ‘normalization’ so that people would think that these qualities belonged to all children instead for some special few.
Normalization appears through repetition of three step cycle. The building of character and the formation of personality that known as normalization comes about when children follow this cycle of work.
I) The child will gather necessary material for the preparation of the activity. The movement and the thought involved in the preparation serves to call the attention of the mind to begin in focusing on the activity.
II) The activity which is so captivated by the child that he reaches a deep level of concentration. This step is which all educators recognize as important for education.
III)Rest, generalized as feeling of satisfaction and well-being. It is thought that at this point some inner formation or integration of the person takes place.
There are four characteristics that indicate the process of normalization occurs:
Love of work, Concentration, Self-discipline and Sociability
“All four characteristics must be present for us to say that a normalized type common to the whole of mankind is appearing- no matter how brief the appearance of the characteristics. The process is usually invisible to us because the normalization is hidden by characteristics not proper to the child.” (The Absorbent Mind, p202)
Montessori distinguished another process known as deviations at the same time she discover normalization. She saw both process is going on all the time. It is what the children engaged in.
Deviations occurs when a horme, a kind of life force that unable to go in the normal three step cycle for the building of a person then it moves into these other cycles. The child will naturally feel threatened and reacts to save themselves and therefore deviate from their natural development.
Deviations can cause by adults imposing their personality and expectations on the child and in return the child respond by either becoming the child the adults expect or by rebelling against it. The deviated behaviour we observe is the outward sign of inner conflict which could be confusing for the child.
There is various type of deviations which Dr Montessori has categorized.
1. Deviations Fostered by Adults – Deviations are thought to be normal by adult by the time the child reaches 3 years old. For examples: some adults find these characteristics desirable states of being: over-affectionate attachment to persons, submissive, play, overeating and instability of attention. The child immaturity in the real world and the excess of unused psychic energy combine to form an unreal world where the child can alleviate their boredom. They will be uncontended unless being entertained constantly where adult will abandons the child to their toys or television. Some children will only feel safe by attaching and hanging onto an adult or older child. Therefore their drive towards independence will be hindered as their movements have been constantly supplanted by others.
2. Deviations Not Fostered by Adults – Some deviations are likely to be corrected than deliberately fostered such as messiness, obedience and quarrelling are some common ones as to be though normal.
3. Deviations as Fugues – In “Secret of a Childhood” (1966) Montessori further categorised deviations into those of psychic ‘fugues’ and psychic ‘barriers’. A fugue she describes as hiding away in a fantasy world created by a child. The child will always pretend to be someone else. They are never still and their movements are without purpose which they often leave tasks unfinished. They lack order and discipline. They are regarded as being intelligent and sometimes encouraged in their fantasies. Whilst, a ‘barrier’ refers to an inhibition of which prevent the child from responding to their environment. The child builds up a defend wall to separate themselves from the outside world.
4. Deviations Shown by the Strong and Weak – Deviations shown by the strong, meaning those that resist and overcome obstacles they meet and deviation shown by weak tend to surrender to critical conditions
i) The strong child have the tendencies to violence and aggression. They have the trait of disobedient and destructive, possessive and greedy. They may have difficulty coordinating their hands and generally noisy and cruel.
ii) The weak child characteristic is passive, crying, yearn to be entertained, try to get others to do things for them and easily bored. They find the world frightening and clingy to adults. They may refuse to eat, have nightmares, fear the dark and have psychosomatic illnesses.
NOTE: This is reference for Montessori Teacher for writing philosophy paper.