Master Teacher – Maria Montessori

Maria Tecla Artemesia Montessori (August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952) was an Italian physician and educator best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name, and her writing on scientific pedagogy. Her educational method is in use today in public and private schools throughout the world.

Montessori education is practiced by about 30,000 schools following the precepts of the Italian educator Maria Montessori.

It features:

  • “Mixed age classrooms, with classrooms for children aged 2½ or 3 to 6 years old by far the most common
  • Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options
  • Uninterrupted blocks of work time
  • Constructivist or “discovery” model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction
  • Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators”

A comment from Ayn Rand:

“The academia-jet set coalition is attempting to tame the American character by the deliberate breeding of helplessness and resignation—in those incubators of lethargy known as “progressive” schools, which are dedicated to the task of crippling a child’s mind by arresting his cognitive development. It appears, however, that the “progressive” rich will be the first victims of their own social theories: it is the children of the well-to-do who emerge from expensive nursery schools and colleges as hippies, and destroy the remnants of their paralyzed brains by means of drugs.

The middle class has created an antidote which is perhaps the most hopeful movement of recent years: the spontaneous, unorganized, grass-roots revival of the Montessori system of education—a system aimed at the development of a child’s cognitive, i.e., rational, faculty.”

Is “constructivist instruction” the only way to promote development of a rational faculty?

Can “direct instruction” in older school years be so structured as to continue promotion of that rational faculty?

Is there a way to incorporate the Socratic method within a direct instruction format?

Can one structure “browser directed” learning to build on natural curiosity?