The Three Levels of Obedience to Maria Montessori

Decent Essays
The Three Levels of Obedience
Julia B. Kulakowski
Montessori Institute of San Diego

The three levels of obedience are explained by Dr. Maria Montessori after long observations of children of multiple ages in her classroom. She defines the three of obedience as first, an ability to obey, but not all the time. Secondly an ability to obey at all times after developing their own will. Finally being able to obey consistently, moreover to follow another person which the child has deemed superior to them self. Obedience is commonly defined as acting in accordance with the will of another person. She determined that children have an inherent force within them, termed Horme: a vital internal impulse to act upon ones
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Further still is the third level of obedience in which the child not only obeys with consistency, but also finds in another person (typically an adult) superiority and follows, unfaltering, the other persons will. The child has reached total control over their own will and trusts the adult implicitly. Dr. Montessori has explained with examples of the Silence Game as a means of measuring this final level obedience. In her explanation she explores how not only do the children obey the signal given for the game (writing Silence on the blackboard), but know before the teacher has even completed writing the ‘S’ what is coming and immediately go silent. It only takes one child’s first movement to stop what they are doing and the rest of the class almost instantaneously quiets. She also explains how it involves the cooperation of the entire group. Without collectively becoming silent the game is not won. This development takes practice on the part of the child and discipline in restraining oneself on the part of the Guide. The trust created during this development creates a different form of responsibility. In this level of obedience the responsibility of the Guide is exponentially increased as her first movement is not only witnessed, but implicitly obeyed. This responsibility must be felt and respected by the Guide. For (Montessori, 1995) “she must be cautious not to exploit for her own ends so selfless a dedication”(p. 262). This game and
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