Comparison of Montessori and Traditional Education

Traditional Approach

Montessori Approach

emphasis on rote knowledge and social development
emphasis on cognitive structures and social development
teacher’s role is dominant and active; child is a passive participant
teacher’s role is unobtrusive; child actively participates in learning
teacher is primary enforcer of external discipline
environment and method encourage internal self-discipline
individual and group instruction conforms to the adult’s teaching style
individual and group instruction adapts to each student’s learning style
same age grouping
mixed age grouping
most teaching done by teacher and collaboration is discouraged
children encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other
curriculum structured with little regard for child’s interests
child chooses own work from interests and abilities
child is guided to concepts by teacher
child formulates concepts from self-teaching materials
child usually given specific time for work
child works as long as s/he wants on chosen project
instruction pace set by group norm or teacher
child sets own learning pace to internalize information
errors corrected by teacher
child spots own errors through feedback from material
learning is reinforced externally by rewards and discouragements
learning is reinforced internally through child’s own repetition of activity, internal feelings of success
few materials for sensory, concrete manipulation
multi-sensory materials for physical exploration development
little emphasis on instruction on classroom maintenance
organized program for learning care of self and self-care environment
child assigned seat; encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions
child can work where s/he is comfortable, moves and talks at will (yet doesn’t disturb others); group work is voluntary and negotiable
voluntary parent involvement, often only as fundraisers, not participants in understanding the learning process
organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process

Why Montessori