Montessori vs. Conventional

Comparing Montessori with Conventional Education

Montessori children are unusually adaptable. They have learned to work independently and in groups. Since they’ve been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, these children are problem-solvers who can make appropriate choices and manage their time well. Encouraged to exchange ideas and share their discoveries with others, Montessori students develop strong communication skills that help ease the way in new settings.

Research has shown that the best predictor of future success is positive sense of self-esteem. Montessori programs, based on self-directed, noncompetitive activities, help children develop strong self-images and the confidence to face challenges and change with optimism.

Montessori EducationConventional Education
Emphasis on cognitive structures and social developmentEmphasis on role knowledge and social development
Teacher’s role is unobtrusive; child actively participates in learningTeachers role is dominant, active; child is a passive participant
Environment and method encourage internal self–disciplineTeacher is primary enforcer of external discipline
Individual and group instruction adapts to each student’s learning styleIndividual and group instruction conforms to the adults teaching style
Mixed age groupingSame age grouping
Children encouraged to teach one another, collaborate and help each otherMost teaching done by teacher and collaboration is discouraged
Child chooses own work from interest and abilitiesCurriculum structured with little regard for childs interest
Child formulates concepts from self-teaching materialsChild is guided to concepts by teacher
Child works as long as s/he wants on a chosen projectChild usually given specific time for work
Child sets own learning pace to internalize informationInstruction pace set by group norm or teacher
Child discovers own errors from specially designed materialsErrors corrected by teacher
Learning is reinforced internally through child’s own repetition of activity, leading to internal feelings of successLearning is reinforced externally by rewards, discouragements
Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration developmentFew materials for sensory, concrete manipulation
Organized learning program for care of self and self-care environment (shoe-polishing, sink washing, etc)Little emphasis on instruction or classroom maintenance
Child can work where s/he is comfortable, moves and talks at will (yet doesn’t disturb others); group work is voluntary and negotiableChild assigned seat; encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions
Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning processVoluntary parents involvement often only as fundraisers, not participants in understanding the learning process

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