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    Montessori Comparison

    Montessori Traditional
    Child sets own learning pace to internalize information Instruction pace usually set by group norm or teacher
    Child works as long as he or she wishes on chosen project Child generally given specific time limit for work
    Child formulates own concepts from self-teaching materials Child is guided to concepts by teacher
    Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom activity; child is an active participant in learning Teacher has dominant, active role in classroom activity; child is a passive participant in learning
    Child chooses own work from interests and abilities Curriculum structured for child with little regard for child's interests
    Mixed age grouping Same age grouping
    Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate and help each other Most teaching is done by teacher and collaboration is discouraged
    Child can work where he or she is comfortable, moves around and talks at will (yet disturbs not the work of others); group work is voluntary and negotiable Child usually assigned own chair; encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions
    Child spots own errors through feedback from the material If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher
    Learning is reinforced internally through the repetition of an activity and internal feelings of success Learning is reinforced externally by rote repetition and rewards/discouragements
    Instruction, both individual and group, adapts to each student's learning style Instruction, both individual and group, conforms to the adults teaching style
    Environment and method encourage internal self-discipline Teacher acts as enforcer of discipline
    Emphasis on cognitive structures and social development Emphasis on rote knowledge and social development
    Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration Fewer materials for sensory development and concrete manipulation
    Organized program for learning care of self and environment (polishing shoes, cleaning the sink, etc.) Less emphasis on self-care instruction and classroom maintenance
    Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process Voluntary parent involvement, often only as fundraisers, not participants in understanding the learning process
    Source: American Montessori Society A Non-Profit Educational Organization 281 Park Avenue South, 6th Floor New York, New York 10010-6102
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