Us vs them
I'm sure many of you have seen lists of Montessori compared to Traditional education or Montessori compared to normal education.
These lists are meant to be an easy go to for educators to alert parents to the wonders of Montessori, however I worry about their efficacy and the way they set up an us vs them mentality which feeds aculture of elitism. Additionally some of these lists can be based on the assumptions of a traditional North American classroom and do not reflect what might be happening in other countries.
In one of the courses I tutor for Montessori trainee teachers the student teachers have to account for why Montessori is not more widespread in Australia / New Zealand. Some of the students think that we are looking for an argument that vilifies mainstream education or discusses how no one 'gets us' and that we (montessorians) are the victims in a large scale governmental conspiracy. The reality is much more nuanced of course. For example the spread of Montessori education in some countries has been limited or diminished due to
- access to training for teachers
- accessibility of specific information for families tailored to the country parents are in. For example a 3 minute video about 'elementary' montessori using American terms showing a video of white children is not that appealing or relatable to a family of colour living in New Zealand
- infighting between various montessori organisations and the lack of a cohesive vision for montessori that can clearly be advocated to government
- cost of training or equipment or a view that only a certain brand of equipment is 'proper'
- the view that montessori is only for a certain demographic for example rich children or children of a certain ethnic group.
- wider social or economic factors such as war, chaotic governmental situations, financial depression
- poor quality montessori programs that put people off montessori.
Sometimes when I hear montessori teachers speak of non montessori teachers their comments are based on outdated ideas of what is happening in mainstream education or are generalisations based on what they may have experienced a long time ago or after observing one traditional classroom or their own classroom experience.
I think all educators want the best for their learners and the vast majority of teachers are doing their very best for their learners, rather than seeing ourselves as the holders of 'the truth' I wonder if it would be better for us to share how we can enhance or build on the things 'normal' teachers are doing in their classrooms by sharing our montessori pedagogy. This of course requires us to have a knowledge of what is currently happening in mainstream education and to engage in groups and situations that have traditional teachers in them.
Recently I was in a Facebook teachers group for New Zealand teachers.
Part of the national curriculum here is a focus on self management and one teacher was looking for a way for her more able students to manage their own day.
I was able to share about montessori work plans and how students arrange their own work days in montessori classrooms and show her some examples of work plans.
I've also been fortunate to have 'traditional' colleagues and training help me with my own teaching practice especially in regards to teaching reading and writing to children and in helping me learn more about children with special education.
Let's be the change we want to be by engaging with our mainstream teacher friends in respectful
That’s an interesting article.
I went to work for a regular so called IB kindergarten last year after working of Montessori kindergarten for 7 years.
I love Montessori and witness the advantages. As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing better out there.
I only took this none Montessori job because the company had open a campus on an island in China I wanted to live on and had no Montessori school there. I met the teachers there and we talked about Montessori and all the teachers there said I will never work for Montessori. Too much work and less vacation. Montessori teacher’s have so much work to do. Preparing classroom making materials changing it , observation, as IB school teacher just sit there and watch kids playing with toys beside a short simple lesson about some random topic for a few minutes is required there. So I could see they justification for not liking Montessori where we actually work and care for the kids and offer and education.
Anyway bring hires as principal assistant I montessorized the school with whatever materials I could find. You difference in the kids behavior and development was astonishing. Parents were very satisfied, teachers not so much though. Company happy because parents were happy but not happy that I spent money on buy materials. I was then transferred to another campus due to the lack of experienced teachers . The first thing they told was: we know you’re a great teacher but please leave your Montessori methods and philosophy at home.
Absolutely what a collaborative teacher would sound like.
In our world today so free and open, spiraling dynamics of interconnections is then extremely valued. Would love to interact and connect ideas and philosophies with you, if permitted.