In the Montessori Classroom - University of Dallas

In the Montessori Classroom - University of Dallas

Montessoris Beliefs in the Classroom By: Mary Goodykoontz and Caroline Stearns Maria Montessoris Life Born on August 31, 1870 in the province of Ancona, Italy. She attended the University of Rome, with the intention of studying medicine. She got her degree in natural sciences. At 26 she became the first woman physician in Italys history.

She first worked with and researched children with mental disabilites. She loved the fact that these children longed for experience, and believed that if the correct methods were used these children could be taught which sparked her theory of development. Maria Montessoris Life She taught these children using methods that stimulated the childrens senses, and eventually taught them to read and write.

She had a love affair with another physician she was working with which resulted in a son. Since she would be criticized harshly, she sent her child away to a wet nurse, but visited him often. Her son eventually did research for her. She opened her first Montessori school Casa del Bambini on January 6, 1907.

There are now more than 22,000 Montessori schools in over 110 countries worldwide. She died on May 6, 1952. Montessoris Theory of Development Montessori believed that children think and learn differently than adults do, so they ought to learn for themselves, without an adult directing how they learn. This theory is broken up into five sensory periods which are genetically programmed blocks of time where the child is especially eager and able to master certain tasks. This theory shows just how different adult and child thinking is as a child grows up, which is why adults

should not directly be teaching children. From Theories of Development by William Crane Sensitive Periods The Sensitive Period for Order: 0-3 years of age where children tend to put things in order. The Sensitive Period for Details:1-2 years of age where children focus on extremely small details. In this stage children are trying to fill in their experience as completely as possible. The Sensitive Period for the Use of Hands: 1.5-3 years of age where children are constantly playing with objects. As time goes on these skills get more refined.

Sensitive Periods The Sensitive Period for Walking: This is a second birth according to Montessori. This is where the child moves from a passive to an active being. They walk for the purpose of walking, unlike adults. The Sensitive Period for Language: Children learn how to speak a language extremely fast. Montessori believes that children have a language mechanism where it can be learned unconsciously between the ages of three and six. Theory of Development Continued Normalization

also plays a major role in her theory of development. Normalization is when children were when given tasks that met inner needs at sensitive periods, the children worked on them over and over. And when they finished, they were rested and joyful; they seemed to possess an inner peace (Crain, 79). In the Montessori Classroom The goal of education is to assist the impulse in children to independently master certain experiences. Children can start as early as 2 . The teacher does not direct the student, rather allows opportunity for independent learning.

Self-Correction Montessori is in favor of self-correction because it allows the children to work for themselves. The teacher is not telling the students what is right and wrong, they are learning what is right and wrong for themselves. With repetition of activities, students will eventually learn the skill of self-correction which is an extremely beneficial tool. It makes the students more excited to learn because they see how they are succeeding. Free Choice and Perceived Control

In a Montessori classroom children should have free choice. However, the teachers control the different activities allowed in the classroom according to the childs sensitive periods at that time. Montessori believes if children are making choices on how they learn, it will improve their work ethic and make them excited about learning, which is lost in a normal classroom. In the classroom students free choice to choose what activity they want to work on, how much they want to

repeat it, and when to move on to the next activity. Concentration Montessori first observed a strong sense of concentration when working with mentally retarded children. She observed a child concentrating intently on an activity that was at the correct level for her sensual ability. Because the girl focused so strongly, she repeated the activity multiple times despite being distracted, and only finished when she understood the material.

She was more positive than she was before starting the activity. This led Montessori to believe that this style of learning helps with concentration, and overall helps the child learn with repetition. Our Study Purpose and Questions: The purpose of this research study is to explore Montessoris concept of self-correction (control of error) as a successful teaching/learning technique, and how this will affect other aspects of a childs learning. This study will attempt to answer the following questions:

Do the students show more concentration during a directteach lesson or a Montessori-style lesson? Do the students excel more in a direct teach lesson or a Montessori-style lesson? Would a child prefer to be taught in a Montessori-style lesson or a direct-teach lesson? Hypothesis Students will find the Montessori-style of teaching more enjoyable, but this type of teaching will not

necessarily improve test scores. The children will find the activities fun, but will not be as engaged with the material as in a direct-teach lesson. The children will prefer the Montessori lesson. Setting of Study We went to a small North Texas private school, and observed the different learning types among three students.

We presented two direct-teach lessons (a map lesson and a math lesson), and two Montessori-inspired lessons (a map lesson and a math lesson) that both had three activities that the students could choose from. Each lesson took about 10 minutes to perform, and we gave the students a short quiz at the end of each lesson to see how well they learned the material, and we also asked them which lesson they preferred. Procedure: Montessori Map Lesson

We gave the students three self-correcting activities that the students could choose from to work on for about 10 minutes: Activity I: Audio recording with states names Activity II: Colored cutouts of the states with a control map Activity III: Wooden puzzle map of the United States Procedure: Montessori Math Lesson

We presented the students with three selfcorrecting math lessons to choose and work on for about 10 minutes: Activity I: Flashcards with problems on the front and the answers on the back Activity II: Flashcard board with problem on the card and answers underneath Activity III: Folder with problems on top and answers under the flap Procedure: Direct-Teach Math and Map Lesson We gave a math lesson to the students. We used drawings of circles, and a number line to help present the information to the students. We also gave the students a map lesson. We presented different states to the children and pointed out each state and ways to

remember what each state was. Results: Day 1 Student Number Gender Response Reasons/ Explanation 1 Male Direct Teach Lesson

The states were really fun to learn about, but still enjoyed direct teaching because it was more normal to him. 2 Female Direct Teach Lesson Did not want to learn about the states, math was easier for her to learn.

3 Male Montessori Lesson Liked finding the answer for himself, and thought that the activities were really fun. He liked that it was different than the normal type of learning. Test Scores: Day One

Student Number Math Scores (Direct Teach) Map Scores (Montessori lesson) 1 100% 60% 2 100% 40%

3 100% 100% Results: Day 2 Student Number Gender Response Reasons/ Explanation 1

M Montessori Lesson He thought that this lesson was more fun, and he liked checking his answers for himself. He said he felt more concentrated in the direct teach lesson however. 2 F Montessori

Lesson She liked learning on her own, does not usually listen to the teachers so she concentrated more on her own. She said she would like an explanation first, then work on her own. 3 M Montessori Lesson He liked to play the

games. He thought that this lesson type was more fun, and he felt like hen understood the lesson more, and he Test Scores: Day Two Student Number Math Scores: (Montessori) Map Scores (Direct-Teach) 1 100%

80% 2 100% 60% 3 100% 100% Observations: Day 1 Children definitely got more excited for Montessori activities. When working in Montessori lessons all three

kids worked on the activities together. The students opened up more when working in the Montessori lesson. However, they got easily distracted and offtopic during the Montessori lesson compared to the direct-teach one. Observations: Day 2: The students started off by working together, but eventually split up. They started to quiz each other. When working in the Montessori lesson they would talk out loud. After a while they would still get distracted. Conclusions We

were right! Students found the Montessori lessons more enjoyable than the direct-teach lessons. The students were more easily distracted in the Montessori lessons compared to the direct-teach lessons. The direct-teach map lesson did have a higher score than the Montessori lesson, but not by a big-enough margin to truly prove that the Montessori lessons will produce a greater test score average. Personal Limitations We only worked with three students. There was not complete comprehension from students about the questions that we asked. We had time limitations.

These are our interpretations of a Montessori lesson. The lessons that the students are currently working on. Nature vs. Nurture Nature Montesso ri Nurture And so we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words; but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment - Maria Montessori. New Questions

Which type of lessons would teachers see as more beneficial to a student? Why go through this whole different teaching style to get the same results as a traditional school? Which type of school would you send your students to? THE END Bibliography Crain, W. (1992). Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications (6th ed). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Lillard, Angeline Stoll (2007). Montessori The Science Behind the Genius. New

York, New York: Oxford University Press Inc. Lillard, Paula Polk (1972). Montessori A Modern Approach. Schocken Books Inc. Montessori Classrooms. American Montessori Society : Education That Transforms Lives, amshq.org/MontessoriEducation/Introduction-to- Montessori/MontessoriClassrooms.

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