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The Montessori Method Summary

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By js7734
Words 1904
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Psychology of Learning
Working with institutionalized and inner-city youngsters, Dr. Maria Montessori was struck by how avidly the children absorbed knowledge from their surroundings. Given developmentally appropriate materials and the freedom to follow their interests, they joyfully taught themselves.
Dr. Montessori observed the following, 1 "When the teachers were weary of my observations, they began to allow the children to do whatever they pleased. I saw children with their feet on the tables, or with their fingers in their noses, and no intervention was made to correct them. I saw others push their companions, and I saw dawn in the faces of these an expression of violence; and not the slightest attention on the part of the teacher. Then I had to intervene to show with what absolute rigor it is necessary to hinder, and little by little suppress, all those things which we must not do, so that the child may come to discern clearly between good and evil. "
2" A room in which all the children move about usefully, intelligently, and voluntarily, without committing any rough or rude act, would seem to me a classroom very well disciplined indeed."
A disciplined classroom fosters a richer learning environment. The goal of Montessori education is to foster a child's natural inclination to learn. Montessori teachers guide rather than instruct, linking each student with activities that meet his interests, needs, and developmental level. The classroom is designed to allow movement and collaboration, as it also promotes concentration and a sense of order. There is not just one main difference between Montessori and traditional education, but many differences. The environment is arranged according to subject area, and children are always free to move around the room instead of staying at desks. There is no limit to how long a child can work with a piece of material. Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.
I thought it was interesting how this relates to Montessori and was done during Maria Montessori's time. Behaviorism, also known as behavioral psychology, is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Conditioning occurs through interaction with the environment. Behaviorists believe that our response to environmental stimuli shapes our behaviors. The term behaviorism refers to the school of psychology founded by John B. Watson based on the belief that behaviors can be measured, trained, and changed. Behaviorism was established with the publication of Watson's classic paper Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It (1913). I believe that this idea of behaviorism plays a part in Montessori.
Behaviorism is everywhere and everyone behaves every day. Montessori schools, along with other schools, especially in the younger ages, will use behaviorist methods. They will use
1 Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method, Renaissance Classics, 2012, p. 52 2 Montessori.p. 53 positive and negative reinforcement and pairing when it comes to the work that they do in the classroom. I have noticed that in traditional schools there seems to be a lot more behavioral issues as compared with Montessori. In Montessori children are taught to be independent and have pride in their work. They are taught respect for their peers as well as for adults. They learn practical life skills; clean up after themselves, as well as learning problem solving on their own. My experience in working with children in traditional schools is that the children can be much more dependent on the teacher for learning and staying disciplined. A lot more behavioral issues seem to be prevalent such as hitting, biting, screaming and temper tantrums. The children were not taught to clean up after themselves and be more responsible for their actions. My experience so far with Montessori makes me think that Montessori children are far more advanced and better prepared for further education and meeting life's challenges. .
Method of teaching
The Montessori Method is a way about thinking about who children are. It is a philosophy that respects the unique individuality of each child. Dr. Montessori believed in the worthiness, value and importance of children. Her method does not compare a child to norms or standards that are measured by traditional educational systems. It is founded on the belief that children should be free to succeed and learn without restriction or criticism.
It is also an approach to education that takes to heart the needs, talents, gifts, and special individuality of each child. It is a process that helps children learn in their own way at their own pace. The main concept of Montessori is to promote the joy of learning. This joy of learning develops a well adjusted person who has a purpose and direction in his or her life. Children, who experience the joy of learning, are happy, confident, fulfilled children. In essence, Montessori helps bring forth the gift of each child.
Another important skill it teaches is self-reliance and independence. It helps a child to become independent by teaching him or her life skills, which is called practical life. Montessori
. children learn to dress themselves, help cook, put their toys and clothes away and take an active part of their household, neighborhood, community, and school.
Montessori works in a methodical way. Each step in the process leads to the next level of learning. When a child plays, he or she is learning concepts for abstract learning. Repetition of activities is an integral part of this learning process.
For young children Montessori is a hands on approach to learning. It encourages children to develop their observation skills by doing many types of activities. These activities include use of the five senses, kinetic movement, spatial refmement, small and large motor skill coordination, and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstraction.
,
For a grade school child, Montessori encourages a child to proceed at his or her own pace onto abstract thinking, writing, reading, science, mathematics and most importantly, to absorb his or her culture and environment. Culture includes interaction with nature, art, music, religion, societal organizations and customs.
The end of the activities themselves is not the goal; it is the process, the intellectual gymnastics, where education happens. For example, the child scooping dirt into a pail is most likely not interested in the end result of having dirt in the pail; rather, they're developing their ability to shovel and scoop and aim, etc. An adult does them a disservice by filling the pail, thinking they are helping them achieve a goal. Learning can only happen when the child does the activity themselves. Imagine yourself in a world where everyone was faster than you and did everything for you without giving you a chance, they fed you, clothed you, picked you up, moved you around, etc. They do this because you're so slow; they feel it will be easier to just do it for you. This would be maddening to you though! We each want to control our own surroundings to some degree. This is the comparison Montessori makes to adults and children. Rather than doing things for them, we serve them best by helping them learn to do these things for themselves as much as possible.
The other important thing to remember is simplicity. We often tend to over complicate the lessons we prepare for children. In teaching shapes, we don't need to get into geometry and discuss the definition of a square; instead, seeing and feeling examples of squares would be much more helpful.
Intellectual Development
Maria Montessori is best known for the progressive method of education that bears her name. She earned her medical degree from the University of Rome in 1894, the first Italian woman to do so. A psychiatrist by training, Montessori worked with deprived and retarded children at the Orthophrenic School in Rome starting in 1899. Her observations of the educational challenges facing these children lead to the formulation of her theories of cognitive development and early childhood education. As she observed the progress of pupils previously considered to be ineducable, Montessori pondered the poor performance of normal children in regular schools. These schools, she concluded, were unable to address the individual educational needs of children and therefore stifled, rather than encouraged, learning. She described children in standard classrooms as butterflies mounted on pins. She says, 5"In such a school the children, like butterflies mounted on pins, are fastened each to his place, the desk, spreading the useless wings of barren and meaningless knowledge which they have acquired." To see whether her ideas could be adapted to the education of normal children, Montessori opened her own school in 1907, the Casa dei Bambini.or The Children's House, for 3 to 7 year olds living in the tenements of Rome. She goes on to say, "Trom the very first I perceived in all its immensity, the social and pedagogical importance of such institutions, and while at that time my visions of a triumphant future seemed exaggerated, today many are beginning to understand that what I saw before was indeed the truth."
Montessori believed that children learn what they are ready to learn, and that there may be considerable differences among children in what phase they might be going through and to what materials they might be receptive at any given time. Therefore, Montessori individualized her educational method. Children were free to work at their own pace and to choose what they would like to do and where they would like to do it without competition with others. The
5 Montessori,p. 7 6 Montessori, p. 23 materials in Montessori's classrooms reflected her value in self selected and pursued activity, training of the senses through the manipulation of physical objects, and individualized cognitive growth facilitated by items that allowed the child to monitor and correct his or her own errors boards in which pegs of various shapes were to be fitted into corresponding holes, lacing boards, and sandpaper alphabets so that children could feel the letters as they worked with them while beginning to read and write, for example. While other schools at the beginning of the 20thcentwy emphasized rote learning and "toeing the line," self absorption in discovery and mastery tasks was the trademark of Montessori classrooms. Still, her classrooms combined this seemingly playful self direction with Montessori self discipline and respect for authority. Continued effort and progress was sustained by the satisfaction and enjoyment children received from mastering tasks and from engaging in activities they themselves have chosen. Montessori believed that these methods would lead to maximal independence for each child from dressing him or herself to organizing his or her day.
She really brings it all home with the following, "The children work by themselves, and in doing so, make a conquest of active discipline, and independence in all acts of daily life, just as through daily conquests they progress in intellectual development. Directed by an intelligent teacher, who watches over their physical development as well as over their intellectual and moral progress, children are able with our methods to arrive at a splendid physical development, and in addition to this, there unfolds within in them, in all its perfection, the soul, which distinguishes the human being."
7 Montessori,p. 231

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