The 2018 Speaker Series: Meet Michelle Becka

We're thrilled to have Michelle Becka as guest speaker for our third Speaker Series event. Her talk titled 'Nurturing Your Child's Growth Mindset,' will explore the development of positive mental habits and self-conceptions in children

The Guidepost Team

We're thrilled to have Michelle Becka as guest speaker for our third Speaker Series event. Her talk titled 'Nurturing Your Child's Growth Mindset,' will explore the development of positive mental habits and self-conceptions in children, including a 'growth mindset,' a deep belief that one's own abilities can expand and grow, as opposed to being set or pre-determined.

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Michelle Becka obtained her BA in Sociology from The University of Arizona in 1994. After moving to Portland, she discovered Montessori education. She attended Montessori (Institute) Northwest when it was located in Oregon City, and graduated with her Primary Diploma from MNW and her Masters in Education from Loyola University Maryland in 1997. Michelle worked as a Primary teacher for 17 years at Childpeace Montessori in northwest Portland, and became a Primary Trainer at MNW in 2017. Over the years, she has done many workshops on topics such as non-violent communication, positive phrasing, helping children solve conflict, and yoga with children.

We recently had the chance to sit down with her, and because there's only so much time during the upcoming Speaker Series' live streamed Q&A, asked her a few ice-breakers below. We hope you enjoy!

To me, Montessori Means...

Montessori Education allows children to develop holistically according to their interests, learning at their own pace, in a multi-age setting, and with hands-on materials to guide their discovery and exploration.

Tip for Parents when Touring A Prospective Montessori School

Ask for a chance to observe a few of the classrooms. Notice the degree to which the children are free to explore, to pursue their own interests, and to work both individually and collaboratively. Notice whether or not the joy is palpable!

#1 Lesson Learned From Being a Teacher Trainer

I have learned that the adults, just like the children, are beautifully vulnerable and open to possibilities. And that, in particular, there are many similarities between 3-6 year olds and 23-26 year olds!

Most Difficult Lesson To Train Teachers On

I wouldn’t say there is one particular lesson that is difficult to offer to teachers in training. However, the concept that is the most challenging to convey is that of setting limits within freedom, and of finding the balance between high authority and high warmth. This is something that really seems to come alive through working with actual children in real life!

Best Part of Training Montessori Teachers

There are so many aspects of training Montessori teachers that I truly adore. I have taught children for 17 years, and always found the work fulfilling, inspiring, and creative. Now, I get to continue to experience these characteristics in my work with the adults, but the effect is EXPONENTIAL! With children, I had 25 children a year, and kept the same children from the age of 3-6. With the adults, I get a brand new batch of 25-40 every year, and they in turn go out to teach a room full of children. The ripple effect is powerful!

Book That Has Influenced Your Life The Most

The poetry of Rumi and Hafiz.

Most Insightful Social Media Account You Follow

On Being, Letter from Loring Park

Tip For First Time Parents 

As Kahil Gibran says in On Children :

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

Meet the Author

The Guidepost Team

The Guidepost Team is a group of writers and educators dedicated to helping demystify all things Montessori.

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