GUADALUPE BORBOLLA | Montessori Education for Social Change


The agents of social change

Director of Training in Instituto Montessori de México A.C.

Guadalupe Borbolla holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a graduate diploma in Special Education, and a Master’s in Education from Loyola University. She is director of Colegio Montessori de Tepoztlan, in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Her school has a full Montessori program at the early childhood, elementary, and adolescent levels, through high school, including a farm school. She is Montessori-trained at the Assistant to Infancy, Primary, and Elementary levels as well as the Adolescent Orientation. She is currently a Director of Training in Mexico and Spain for Instituto Montessori de Mexico, which is affiliated to Association Montessori Internationale. Guadalupe has more than 30 years of Montessori experience and is an international speaker and a school consultant. She has collaborated in training courses in different parts of the world and has given parent education for more than 25 years. She currently serves on the AMI board.


The Abstract

The adolescent: Of roots and wings across the planes of education

The social pillar of the Congress theme touches upon adolescence and its important role as an agent for change. It is of the utmost importance to talk about how it is that this adolescent will grow to when he will be genuinely interested in performing this role. The Montessori system must cultivate development and if we start from birth settling the necessary roots that will permit a steady growth; the Montessori adult will develop to full potential. Montessori tells us that the path of education should follow the path of evolution. How can schools all over the world create programs that will take children from 0 to 18 in environments where learning is seen as a consequence of growing, maturing and enriching the life of the child. It is natural for the child to flow from one stage to the next; there is not much Montessori educators have to do. The growing human is in search of interesting things he might learn to adapt and survive in his environment. The child walks through the planes recapitulating the evolution of early humans. The social interaction of adolescents with different kinds of people in their community gives them a real terrain for action. The adolescent has had the opportunity to build up in himself all the essential human abilities; he is now ready to work for the benefit of society. The right pace has been important for the adolescent all along his development as it has been important in man´s evolution. The adolescent has to be ready to discover what is interesting to him, but much of the problem today is the lack of interest that many young people show. The ability to make interesting discoveries comes as a result of the work done in previous planes. Scientific research is a natural approach to most students in Montessori programs, but this doesn´t happen overnight. As part of his nature, the Montessori adolescent passes from one discovery to the next. This is part of the natural way in which he has been educated. Why are tools so interesting to them? Because it is part of their natural evolutionary stage in the same way that tools where made by Homo Habilis two million years ago. We educators need to work with the “urge of life” that is within each of our students. The cycles of activity in the first sub plane from 0 to 3 have to be honored. In the same way, the adolescent needs to be able to complete the cycle. If the cycles of activity are interrupted, the results are a loss of interest, restlessness and anxiety. When the cycle is completed, then calmness and satisfaction come; his sense of valorization allows for a change of pace and a change of activity where he will be willing to share his discoveries with others. Spiritual preparation comes from much hard work. It needs to be exhaustive to be able to let himself fall in a stage where reflection and contact with his inner teacher is possible. The adolescent needs to put his heart in what he does to be able to reach that stage, a peaceful encounter with himself. All his previous experiences in his Montessori school have prepared him for the future that is today.