Happy Friday, everyone. This Friday, I have a (completely optional) exercise for you: Respond to this note, either by email or on the website comments, with the best criticism of Montessori education you can make. What’s the aspect of the Montessori approach to education that makes the least sense to you? Where might she (and/or we) be wrong? Where is the Montessori approach the weakest? Where does it make the least sense? Where is it most likely to have a blind spot for a child’s needs? The more forceful and articulate, the better.
As a bit of background, I have had informal Montessori training (aka not AMI or AMS affiliated) and had the opportunity to closely observe an AMI school. The experience had a profound effect on my teaching even though I teach at a traditional school. I am deeply sympathetic to Montessori, but have some criticisms.
1. There aren’t very many ways to become a knowledgeable Montessori teacher outside of expensive and time intensive training programs. The outcome is highly trained teachers with good mentorship (yay!) The downside is that it is nearly impossible for a current teacher to switch into becoming a Montessori teacher without a significant pay cut.
2. The materials are an expensive start up cost for a school. Ultimately the school will likely save money because the year and year out use, but it’s a much bigger ask to start a Montessori school than a traditional school which just needs a few textbooks. Additionally as mentioned teachers need extensive training which I imagine can make hiring difficult in some areas. I think these two facts can help explain in part why Montessori lost the debate so to speak.
3. In regards to the actual materials, I think that the language ones are still underdeveloped. Italian has a clear and less complicated phonetic system. I suspect what was fully developed for teaching students Italian, needs help for the less transparent phonetic code of English.
4. There’s an unfortunate lack of literature in the curriculum. Montessori built her Casa Bambini in Italy where families commonly had storytelling and poetry around the hearth at home. Many modern households have lost this practice and I think it’s worth reconsidering the lack of fictional storytelling and poetry in the earliest aged Montessori classrooms.
6. There’s also just the general problem that anyone can say they are Montessori. I suspect some common criticisms stem from this problem since what is being critiqued depends on the critics experience of what they call “Montessori”.
Thank you for soliciting criticisms and I’m interested to see what you think.
Montessori is a way of life based on Maria Montessori s success with it. If she was alive today she will cringe at what has happened to it. People have made it a religion! Arguing about all this is futile because arguments lead to more conflicts.That’s why passionate people work to bring about the change, they have no time or energy to talk.
Since Montessori is a way of life it’s does not start and end in the classroom. It starts from home, strengthens in the classroom and becomes you.
Hence it’s not for everyone!
It’s not a cure for all the behavioural concern’s.A Montessori is a commitment.
It’s a relationship between parents, child and the guide.An honest commitment based on a complete evolving understanding.
Weakness of Montessori lies in the training of guides and the lack of maturity required to relate the material to the child. Most of the times material becomes the focus than the child and instead of Montessori becoming you you get into the endless struggle of becoming Montessori. Like for example as a trained guide you need to have a sense , feeling of your classroom, the children, their needs and work around that. Materials are just simple tools to help in that process not the focus. Flexiblility, end goal, and consistency are the pillars of Montessori.
Once the myth that Montessori is for everyone needs to be broken! Most of the behaviour s need a specific skilled attention and it must be provided.