Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Here is the fundamental question in education, one that Dr. Maria Montessori was completely sure about, but that most people struggle with. When it comes down to it, do you have 100% trust the child? Do you think that the child has everything within itself for maximum growth?
According to Montessori and the "triangle", if you have a properly prepared environment, a properly trained adult, and the child, s/he will learn what they need, when they need without any direct instruction or prodding from the adult. Now, this might not be according to the government, or even society, mandated list of when and how things need to be learned. However, it IS within the realm of what THAT child at THAT time needs to learn.
Of course, if you take away any of the two things the adult has control over (the environment and trained adult), you wouldn't necessarily see these results.
This is why I feel like, if we were to put Dr. Montessori in a political party in today's America she would be a Libertarian. So, that each individual needs what each individual needs when they need it, without a top down government agenda that needs to be fulfilled by the child. Also, Ayn Rand stated that the only education method/philosophy she could endorse was Montessori (if you haven't read her manifesto on education "The Comprachicos," I highly recommend it. She discusses Montessori at length.)
I hear the arguments that people give about getting students to comply to an outside "authority" so that they know how to. The other side of that coin is why should they? Why are we presuming that this authority knows more about where the child should be going than the child him/herself knows? Why aren't we wanting to have that student that is forging the new world outside of the chains of authority? I think when Dr. Montessori spoke of learning societal norms and whatnot, she meant it more in terms of grace and courtesy, rather than academic norms and authority (with the exception of religion, for her). Do we not trust the child to reach their potential on their own? If not, aren't we actually thwarting that potential by enforcing what WE think they should know upon them at a time they aren't interested in it, when they could be going down the path that they truly should have been on if we hadn't gotten in their way? Why are we setting them up to be in a position where they have to comply to authority, rather than setting them up to BECOME the authority (of themselves)? If the child NEEDS to, say s/he decides to be a doctor and must go to medical school, they will comply to that authority to get to THEIR goal. But that is a means to their end, not being forced upon them by the adult "who knows better". They don't need to be trained in that.