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.