Montessori vs. Traditional Education

January 19, 2021


Montessori vs. Traditional Education

January 19, 2021

Sometimes it is easier to understand the differences between traditional forms of education and that of Montessori pedagogy when the two ideologies are placed in a side by side comparison.

Below is a chart that juxtaposes both with regard to the method of instruction, environment and the role of the teacher.

Traditional Classroom Montessori Environment
Child is led toward textbook-driven curriculum; pencil and paper, worksheets and dittos primary source instructional material dependence from adults

Adults are the main providers of learning, discipline, social problem solving

Prepared kinesthetic materials with emphasis on conceptual understanding; incorporated control of error; specially developed reference materials

The Goal is to lead children toward independence, academically as well as through social problem solving

Working and learning without emphasis on social development Working and learning matched to the social development of the child
Narrow, unit-driven curriculum Unified, internationally developed curriculum
Blanket approach to teaching – everyone doing the same thing at the same time Education is set to each child’s academic individual academic level; subject choices made by student
Block time, period lessons Uninterrupted work cycles that allow the child to complete tasks before moving on to the next
Single-graded classrooms Multi-age classrooms
Students passive, limited to desks; problematic transition times Students active, softly conversing, with periods of spontaneous quiet; freedom to move
Students fit mold of school, primarily designed for middle level achieving students School meets needs of all students, from the academically gifted to the challenged
Limitation on cooperative learning- students in direct competition with each other Cooperative learning is encouraged; students willing to aid one another
Product-focused report cards Process-focused assessments, skills checklists, mastery benchmarks
Environment is prepared for the teacher to be the sole and center of attention Environment is prepared for the child; apparatus is systematically placed in accordance by the progression (difficulty) of the materials
Teacher acts as dispenser of knowledge. Greater part of learning is presented, in auditory fashion, from the teacher; or read from text books Teacher acts as facilitator of knowledge. Greater part of learning comes from child’s own discovery and work with the materials
Instruction primarily dealt within units; no particular order, later to be tied into a whole concept Instruction presented in the whole, in chronological fashion, then broken into parts


Learn even more about the differences between Montessori vs. Traditional education here.