At the very onset of this article, on the difference between the traditional and the Montessori teaching methods, I would like to make it very clear that this is not to hurt the sentiments of any educationalist or the parent community.
This is not to bring out the merits of the Montessori method and to put the other traditional methods of education down.
We present the difference between the two methods for you to decide which method would help the little minds to enjoy the whole journey of learning without any undue stress or strain.
Montessori philosophy differs from the traditional school in three primary ways:
- Multi-aged environments: Children are grouped in multi -aged groups spanning from two and a half to six years of age into” environments “. ( Sounds a little different from the usual term “classrooms” ; a major difference by itself. This encourages co- operation , minimizes competition , and provides opportunities for indirect learning for juniors as they observe older peers or seniors. Terms like “ Juniors and seniors” no way remotely used in traditional schools. It sounds very sweet to hear the little ones use terms like juniors and seniors which helps to build self-confidence in students who serve as role models and provide long term child/adult relationships.
- Educational materials are concrete to aid the child to learn – order to discriminate physical dimensions, provide opportunities to teach responsibility, co-ordination and inter-dependence and to indirectly prepare for complex and abstract concepts.
- Each child initially responds to an inner urge to develop both knowledge and build identity through spontaneous activity which charts the course for individualized lessons.
Following are some of the key differences between Montessori and traditional teaching methods:
|Teacher is referred to as a Directress as she acts as a guide and follows the child . The child determines direction of learning by own interest.||Teacher has a central role in the classroom. The child receives direction from the adult via pre-determined activities.|
|Material available for exploration.||Material in the form of a heavy load which the child carries every day.(In fact a recent government study duly published in leading newspapers has found that children carry up to nine kilos of study material on a daily basis resulting in seriously detrimental effects, both physical and psychological). Children expected to reproduce the matter; no scope for exploration.|
|Purposeful and self selected work provides internal self-discipline.||Discipline is external to the child via the authority of the teacher.|
|Through observation the directress adjusts instructions to child’s learning style. Most lessons are given on a one to one basis.||Instructions both individual and group is adapted to adults teaching style. Most lessons are given in small to large groups.|
|Mixed age groups.||Same age groups.|
|Community building is encouraged, promoting service to others, both academically and socially.||Independent work is encouraged.|
|The child takes responsibility for his/her own ideas, judgement, actions and decisions.||Orientation of work and classroom is determined and directed by the teacher.|
|Child discovers concepts through repetitive work with materials.||Textbooks and worksheets reinforce lessons given by the teacher.|
|Uninterrupted – is designed into daily schedule to honor child’s focus and interests.||Work pace and time set by management in the form of periods.|
|Control of error lies in the material itself. Child’s own intelligence fosters correction.||Work is set up for a right and wrong answer .Teacher indicates errors.|
|Self-perfection is a natural tendency of every child and the excitement of self mastery and discovery motivates children to learn.||Learning is reinforced by external rewards such as grades and verbal acknowledgements.|
|Practical life skills are central to overall curriculum.||Child expected to have acquired self care skills prior to entering school.|
|Child can work where he/she is comfortable, moves around and talks at will yet not disturbing the work of others.||Child is assigned an own chair and expected to spend most of the school day stationary.|
|Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori Philosophy and participate in the learning process.||Parent involvement central to assistance with social activities and field trips.|
In short a child who goes to a Montessori House of Children walks in with a smile on the face and the eagerness to explore new concepts.