Montessori vs Traditional Schools

DifferenceTo contrast the Montessori approach with other traditional educational institutions here is a table which compares the two.

Montessori Traditional
Based on helping the natural development of the human being Based on the transfer of a national curriculum
Child is an active participant in learning Child is a passive participant in learning
Mixed age groups Same age groups Child has allocated time for each particular task
Children learn at their own pace and follow their own individual interest Children learn from a set curriculum according to a time frame that is the same for everyone
The teacher works in collaboration with the children The class is teacher led
Children teach themselves using materials specially prepared for the purpose Children are taught by the teacher
Learning is based on the fact that physical exploration and cognition are linked Children sit at desks and learn from a whiteboard and worksheets
Understanding comes through the child’s own experiences with materials and the promotion of children’s ability to find things out for themselves Learning is based on subjects and is limited to what information is given
Mainly individual instruction Mainly group instruction
Child can work where he/she is comfortable, move around and talk at will while not disturbing others, active participation Child is usually assigned own chair and encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions, passive participation
The child’s individual development brings its own reward and therefore motivation Motivation is achieved by a system of reward and punishment
Environment and method encourage internal self-discipline Teacher acts as primary enforcer of external discipline
Uninterrupted work cycles Block time, period lessons
Child works as long as he/she wishes on chosen projects Child generally given specific time limit for tasks
Working and learning matched to the social development of the child Working and learning without emphasis on the social development of the child
Shared emphasis on intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual development Main emphasis on intellectual development
Shared focus on the acquisition of academic, social, practical and life skills Main focus on academics
The teachers role is as an unobtrusive role in the class, the facilitator The teacher is the centre of the classroom, the controller
The environment and teaching method encourages self discipline The teacher acts as a primary enforcer of discipline, children become reliant on outside approval
Child sets own learning pace and reinforces own learning by repetition of work and internal feeling of success Instruction pace usually set by group. Errors are pointed out or praise comes from the teacher
Child discovers own concepts from self-teaching, self-correcting materials Child is shown concepts by teacher and corrected by teacher


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