Human Tendencies

Washington Montessori’s Secondary Program

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“The chief symptom of adolescence is a state of expectation, a tendency towards creative work and a need for the strengthening of self-confidence.” (Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 63)

“Thus the individual passes from one plane of interdependence to another – physical, mental, moral, economic, spiritual – always urged on by the forces of Nature itself, forces which are inherent and irrepressible and whose aim or goal is always that of the complete, fully formed, and fully functioning adult human being, an adult not only adapted to his time and place but also capable of adapting to new situations and circumstances, ultimately an adult who can work for the good of humanity and can participate in humanity’s (cosmic) mission on this Earth.” (Camillo Grazzini, “The Four Planes of Development, p. 38)

“I’m glad I did that. I didn’t want to do that, who would want to do that, but I’m glad I did.” (in reference to a CC meet in the rain and cold)

Our adolescents are engaged in the activity of making caddies for our

shared community supplies.

One of our adolescents after not riding bike for a long time while her friends demonstrate

self-development through love and nurturing.

“So the tendency for Self-preservation becomes a huge category for humans. In addition to behaviors which guarantee physical life, there are motivations equally powerful to protect and maintain, to keep safe and alive, the life of the intellect and the life of the spirit as well.”  (Ginni Sackett, “The Human Tendencies”, pp. 3-4)

“I loved myself in that game.”

“This is the tendency to familiarize myself with my surroundings, my situation, my environment; to place myself in relationship with that environment, gaining secure, usable knowledge and experience within that environment, so I can determine my place in it, and determine how to preserve my self in it.” (Ginni Sackett, “The Human Tendencies”, p. 4)

“The building use to be really big, now I know its just one big circle in a square.” (After a month of being in the new high school building)

Our “Little Washington” (a.k.a. Washington, NC) adolescents orient themselves

in our nation’s capital, Washington, DC.

This photo captures our adolescents exploring an exhibit on early computers

in the National Museum of American History.

“This is the tendency to examine, to investigate, to scrutinize – for the purpose of discovery.” (Ginni Sackett, “The Human Tendencies”, p. 4)

“So… can I toss this into the fire. I want to see what will happen.” (On tossing a full water bottle into a bonfire)

“… all of the information and knowledge gained through orientation and exploration are put in order. Everything is classified, categorized… Order is a function of all life in general.” (Ginni Sackett, “The Human Tendencies”, p. 5)

“The chairs are supposed go by the wall.” (Overheard as one student directed another who was new to the building)

Over the summer, three of our adolescents were simply asked to put donated National Geographic magazines on our bookshelf. Spontaneously, this became an exercise in order as the magazines were sorted and classified according to year. Once placed on the shelves, they labeled the shelves accordingly.

In this photo, we are connected to one another via the transition activity

during one of our morning meetings.

“Communication is closely related to the tendency for activity. It is the motivation to behave inter-actively with our environment and with the elements in the environment, including other human beings… one definition of the verb ‘communicate’ is ‘to be joined or connected…’” (Ginni Sackett, “The Human Tendencies”, p. 6)

“Of course we talk on the time…. How would we figure stuff out?”

“… we take the reality of the world as we find it and steal some essence out of it, an essence of qualities, of characteristics, an essence which will exist apart from those realities and distill this essence into a representation of that reality in our human mind – an abstracted representation which is a purely mental image, existing without the presence of a concrete object and apart from any immediate, lived experience. (Ginni Sackett, “The Human Tendencies”, p. 6)

“I always liked drawing and now that I have learned 3-d animation I have become more invested in learning more software, programs, and techniques. I am getting better faster. ” (On learning new software in graphics design and independent study classes.)

This image was created from the imagination of one of our adolescents for

an Environmental Science project.

Our adolescents are planting bonsai trees.

“This tendency describes the inherent powers which guide us towards an accomplishment… first there has to be something we are interested in achieving… Once interest is assured, this tendency… comes into play.” (Ginni Sackett, “The Human Tendencies”, p. 8)

“That does not make sense; if I have a house that’s nice inside and you have one that isn’t … we still get taxed at the same amount based on the outside?” (on property taxes)

Exactness and Precision

“So how does this tendency help and guide us?… by naturally motivating behavior to exceed a current level of achievement, understanding, or accomplishment… This is essentially what Learning is all about…” (Ginni Sackett, “The Human Tendencies”, p. 9)

“I did not know that I knew how to do that.” (On calculating APR in class)

Some of our adolescents’ engineering self-standing paper structures.