Comparison of Education Philosophies

 

MONTESSORI EDUCATION TRADITIONAL EDUCATION
Emphasis is on cognitive structures and social development Emphasis is on rote knowledge and social conformity
Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom activity; child is an active participant in learning Teacher has a dominant role in the classroom, is center of classroom as "controller", while child is a passive participant in learning
Environment and method encourage internal discipline (discipline  becomes a natural choice) Teacher is primary enforcer of external discipline (discipline imposed from outside)
Individual instruction takes precedence over group instruction. Each student's learning style is respected and followed Mostly group instruction, conforming to a set curriculum taught according to the adult's teaching style, and to which all children must equally conform
Mixed age grouping, usually spanning three years, in some cases, even more Same age grouping
Grouping encourages children to help each other, teach and collaborate while respecting individuality Most teaching is done by the teacher and collaboration is in many cases discouraged
Child chooses own work according to interests and abilities, following her own individual needs Curriculum is structured for the children, uniformly, paying little attention to each child's interests and individuality
Child discovers and formulates own concepts from self-teaching, self-correcting materials, with minimal adult intervention Child is guided to concepts by the teacher and in most cases concepts learned by heart, but not understood
Child works as long as s/he wishes on any chosen project, repetition being not only allowed but understood as a need, and is never interrupted while at work Child is generally allotted a specific timeframe for work, never having a chance to truly concentrate because of continuous interruptions and interference from adults
Child sets own learning pace as needed to internalize information, understand it and build upon it Instruction pace is usually set by group norm, teacher and curriculum regardless of child's needs
Child spots own errors through feedback received from self-correcting materials, with what is called "control of error". Work is not graded. The child's work is assessed,  corrected and graded. Errors are marked and pointed out by the teacher
Child reinforces own learning through repetition of work, internal feelings of success, and understanding of principles each material evidences Learning is reinforced externally by rote repetition, rewards and punishments (albeit veiled or hidden), seeking to create conditioning and conformity
Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration are not only freely available and accessible but also created to meet specific needs children may have If available, materials for sensory development are mere toys and do not lead child to understanding of specific concepts
Organized program for learning care of self and environment, both in a limited (classroom) and broad (the world) sense Less emphasis of self-care instruction and environment maintenance and care
Child can work where s/he chooses to and feels comfortable, having the freedom to move around, talk at will (but without disturbing the work of others) Child usually is assigned a fixed chair and desk, and asked to sit still and listen to group lessons and presentations.
Programs and workshops are organized to help parents understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning Close cooperation between school & home Voluntary parent involvement if any. In many cases, teachers expect parents to not get involved and let experts do their job without questioning
High sense of community purpose and dedication to social and altruistic causes, the school being seen as a family working hand in hand with the children. School operating as a mere business, or a place where character is molded into shape, often with little dialogue or concern for individuality
Education for Peace promotes understanding, dialogue, and conflict resolution through discussion, encouraging differences, accepting and respecting personal and Education promotes aggressive, competitive behavior, based on the winner/looser dichotomy, often promoting, even if in subliminal ways, hanger and ostracism
Group work is voluntary, negotiable and spontaneous (self-initiated rather then adult suggested or enforced) Group work and activities are organized by the teacher and children expected to take part even if unwilling, shy or uncomfortable