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Transcript of Maria Montessori
What is Montessori?
Maria Montessori went against the odds throughout her lifetime, pushing the limits of social boundaries by entering a male dominant world. She has left her mark on the world of education for students of all ages. Montessori focused her efforts on students learning through discovery based on individual interests.
Public Education -defined by Phillip Jackson
With Montessori schools in 52 countries on six different continents, (Lillard 1996) it is evident that her curriculum is accepted by many around the world. As educators, we can learn from her methods even if we do not teach in a Montessori school. Take some time to think about the following questions:
How do teachers impact student behavior, learning, and success?
Rachael Slotman, Kelley Cox, Dawn Burke, Shaina Clifford
keep records of children's
Teachers go through
assessment pieces with
students as a learning tool,
looking at strengths and
Records are kept to track
student progress throughout
the school year.
"The Montessori teacher, child, and environment may be seen as a learning triangle, with each element inextricably linked,
and a vital part of the whole." --(American 2015).
"The teacher thoughtfully prepares a classroom environment with materials and activities that
entice her students to learn."
To act by oneself and for oneself
To act without unnecessary help or interruption
To work and to concentrate
To act within limits that are determined by the environment and the group
To construct one’s own potential by one’s own efforts
“The task, I have said, is basically one of getting to the truth of things, of untangling essence and existence. In that formulation “essence” stands for unadulterated truth and “existence” stands for a mixture of truth and untruth. Essence is what we’re looking for. Existence is what we have to work with. What makes the task difficult is that truth and untruth as existing are not always easy to tell apart. Their separation often calls for close attention and argument” . - Phillip Jackson
Grace & Courtesy in a Montessori Classroom
A Montessori Morning
Schools nationwide do not tend to foster individuality, creativity, critical thinking, personal autonomy and learning for the sake of learning; student learning is based on standardized testing (Massialas 1996).
Students are punished for failure to meet institutional expectations rather than academic or intellectual expectations (Flinders 2013).
This conditions student behavior while normalizing error - making the classroom a safe place to learn and make mistakes.
Classroom rules are so well understood and internalized by the students that teachers need to only give abbreviated reminders when behavioral expectations aren’t met (Flinders 2013).
A teacher's task is to "equip students with the skills and understanding that will allow them to function effectively in the world at large." (Jackson 2012)
Because the public education system currently practices the use of exams, students are taught information, asked to practice applying the information, and then asked to call upon said "knowledge" at a latter time, thus demonstrating their mastery of the content.
Expectations in public education are so normalized and internalized by students - this makes classroom management somewhat easier. Students understand the basic behavioral expectations and know there will be consequences if they fail to meet them. Teachers only need to give abbreviated reminders when expectations are not being met, i.e. “voices” when the noise level is too high. This can actually benefit the students in the long run, as they will be expected to meet similar behavioral expectations throughout their lives in other settings, such as college and in the workplace; though this could potentially stifle the creativity and individuality of each individual student. -- Kelley Cox
"The teacher’s goal is to have her students possess whatever knowledge she transmits. She wants them to accept it as their very own. It then becomes true for them subjectively."
-- Phillip W. Jackson
Students invest in their education, creating ownership.
Learning becomes an adventure.
Learners develop the ability to think critically.
"Individualism is fostered through the seating arrangement: students are seated individually at a distance from each other, in rows, preventing eye contact with each other and building relationships that could potentially lead to disciplinary problems." (Masalias 1996)
Today's classrooms are full of dos and don'ts. These apply not only to the student but to the teacher, or other professionals in the classroom. At times we lose sight of what is important in our classrooms because we are jumping through so many hoops. Students know what to expect and when to expect it. At this moment in education, structure equals stability. At what point do we falter from being so stable? --Dawn Burke
Elementary Classrooms host as many
as 35 children ages 6-9 or 9-12.
American Montessori Society. (2015). Retrieved July 10, 2015.
Flinders, D. (2013). "The Daily Grind". In The Curriculum Studies Reader(4th ed.). New York: Routledge.
Jackson, P. (2012). What is education? Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lillard, P. (1996). Montessori today: A comprehensive approach to education from birth to adulthood.
New York: Schocken Books.
Massialas, B. (1996). The Hidden Curriculum and Social Studies. InCritical issues in teaching social studies,
K-12. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth.
MoreyPublicSchool. (2011 April 30). What is Montessori? Retrieved from youtube.com.
Palmer, Lindsay. (2014 May 14). A Montessori Morning. Retrieved from youtube.com.
The Social Context of Middle School: Teachers, Friends, and Activities in Montessori and Traditional School
Environments. (2005). The Elementary School Journal, 106(1), 59-79.
Wagner, Karen. (2010 October 9).
Grace and courtesy in a Montessori classroom
. Retrieved from
Bill of Rights
Keep reflection journals
Stay engaged in their work
Use materials in “any interrelated way”
Collaborate with peers
Use "powers of thinking and imagining”
Initiate research topics and field trips (older students)
The teacher is a link between the prepared environment and the student (Lillard 1996).
The teacher intentionally arranges the room and materials so that it is appealing, but not overwhelming, to the student. It is their job to ensure that the student can learn from the environment and the materials within. They hold the child accountable for meeting their learning expectations and figure out the best way to introduce new activities and skills without giving away too much information.
The student’s role in public education is to absorb the information, usually passively, and be able to regurgitate the information upon demand. More important than learning information, the student’s primary job is to meet the behavioral expectations of the “hidden” curriculum, as Jackson calls it. Students learn or master the hidden curriculum by meeting institutional expectations, like not speaking out of turn or getting out of one’s seat without permission, etc. These skills are also necessary in life outside of the classroom, so it benefits the students to understand these expectations early on.
Provides students the opportunity to master the hidden curriculum, ultimately developing their ability to adapt to various situations and environmental conditions throughout their lives.
Student and teacher roles are more defined.
How can you incorporate the Montessori method into your classroom? How will this enhance student learning?
The teacher is responsible for laying down a foundation of self-control and establishing patterns of accepted behavior.
It is important that the children
use powers of thinking and
imagining to involve them in
"grace and courtesy" lessons.
"In the field of morality, the
child now stands in need of
his (her) own inner light..."
It is important that teachers facilitate
open conversations with children about
their relationships and behavior, versus
the alternative lecture , acting as a beacon
towards freedom and independence.
What are the shortcomings
of the Montessori method?
Could some of these shortcomings be interpreted as
benefits? What makes you think so?
How can Montessori's
methods be incorporated
Montessori's method was a revolutionary contribution to the world of education. Instead of drilling students on reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic, it allowed students to explore their interests. Instead of only teaching boys, or students from prominent families, she taught the poorest children, believing that all of them could learn. Even if all of her methods are not adopted by the majority, her contributions have helped to redefine the power of education, leveraging the teacher's ability to tap into the student's potential. (Lillard, 6)
The teacher's word tends to be accepted as gospel by her students because they trust that her position has been imparted on her due to her knowledge of the subject. This belief is also held by the teachers themselves - they accept that what they have to teach is supposed to be absorbed by their students in order to best prepare them for life.
While this may stifle social engagement, is it possible that this arrangement could fuel the creation of independent thinkers, scholars who are less dependent on what their peers think? - Shaina Clifford
In this way, student mastery of the content is assessable, allowing the teacher to gather data for any necessary intervention while keeping the student aware of what he or she has accomplished or still needs to work on.
Montessori's program involves students learning through self-selected materials based on their interests. Based on my research, I have decided to implement some of Montessori’s principles in my kindergarten classroom, creating a period of time where students can learn through discovery. Every day I am going to have an intervention time in my classroom; during which my students will be able to select learning activities based on their own interests. I also plan to implement Montessori’s "learning journals", making the students responsible for keeping track of their daily activities and learning. I think this is great way to create accountability and responsibility in students. -- Rachael Slotman