Principles of Learning and Instruction: The Montessori Method

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Principles of Learning and Instruction: The Montessori Method

The Montessori Method reflects the conviction that children’s learning could be enhanced by activity-based methods of teaching. We also highlighted the components of the Montessori Method.

Principles of Learning and Instruction

The principles of learning peculiar to Montessori are discussed in the following sub-sections:

1. Heterogenous Grouping by Age

A Montessori class consists of children numbering sometimes, up to thirty varying in age from three to six. This practice is different from some public school education, which, traditionally, have been age-graded.

Heterogeneous grouping is a sound pre-condition for social development. Since children will be working at different levels, they will neither want nor need the same materials at the same time.

It also provides variety in companionship: older children can teach younger ones, and this act of teaching is among the most effective learning experiences possible. The excitement of older children to read and write may be contagious to younger ones.

2. Active Involvement

Montessori was committed to action and movement as the basis for learning. All of the Montessori didactic materials are based upon Montessori’s concept of the relationship between physical and mental development and require the performance of some responses by the child so that an effect might be observed.

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3. Self-Selection and Pacing

Children are free to select designed alternatives, the didactic materials which suit them at the moment. Technically, a child may spend as long as he wishes with any set of materials.

The child proceeds through a sequence of materials at his self-determined rate. Montessori education is individualized; her class was the first non-graded learning environment.

Principles of Learning and Instruction: The Montessori Method

4. Self-Correctional Materials

Montessori and didactic materials are carefully designed so that errors (and successes) are for the most part self-evident.

Children do not depend on the teacher for evaluative feedback. The auto-educative materials are used either correctly or incorrectly. For example, the cylinder blocks fit only one way, and the Golden Beads work only one way.

5. Graduated Sequence

The major components of the Montessori program are sequenced from simple to complex. Sensory motor movement is perfected first, followed by discrimination skills and vocabulary training.

A coordinated matrix of stimulus elements characterizes the method. Montessori strove for complete consistency in her approach to pedagogy.

6. Isolation of Sensory Attributes

To promote concentration and sharpen discriminations, Montessori arranged for children to deal with one sensory modality at a time. Thus, children are blindfolded when working with auditory and tactile materials.

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