or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › Montessori › Montessori Critics
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Montessori Critics - Page 3

post #41 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipse95 View Post
I really hesitated to post here, as I am not a critic. However, I did end up pulling my ds out of Montessori and into a more traditional school in 4th grade. He had been attending from age 3 on.

Montessori was not working for him. My husband and I started thinking about whether or not this could be true and when we discussed it with the Director, she stated she really thought so. We tried many options before pulling him and worked extensively with the school, but in the end we all agreed that it was pretty obvious he wasn't getting what he needed. Not all children learn the same way and he definitely needed something different.

It is just his personality type. For a great many children, Montessori has so many benefits. Just not what my son needed at that time. The change to traditional school was a bit difficult but he now has this amazing enthusiasm for school and learning that was always missing for him at Montessori. He is so much happier all the way around and has been since we pulled him (he's now 12 so this was 4 years ago).

We now have my daughter in a preschool co-op (because of our location) that is based very loosely on Montessori methods and are considering putting her into a Montessori. Her personality is so different from my son's but we're still thinking on what we want to do. I do love Montessori though.
Your posts fits how I feel discussions on teaching methods really should be. One style of teaching does not fit every child, regardless of what style that is. I feel it would be more fitting to discuss what personality traits and characteristics work well with this learning style than to frame bad experiences as a flaw with the whole method. What one child might find too boring, another finds fascinating, etc.
post #42 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
If you don't mind sharing I would love to know where the roadbumps were for your son.
Honestly, even though we tried to pinpoint what exactly was missing, we never could. He just had no enthusiasm for learning their way. He needed something more concrete, more competitive, with more pressure. He is a perfectionist with procrastination tendencies. He has a personality where he will do the least necessary unless he is really pushed and challenged. It wasn't that he was suffering academically or socially, as he was at level and had tons of friends, and he wasn't acting out in any way. We could just tell that he wasn't happy with it. It was obvious that he wasn't even close to fulfilling his potential.

I'm not a mother who puts much stock in where children "should" be. I think all children learn in different ways, at different levels and at different times. It has been truly amazing to watch him blossom in a traditional school. Now, he gets excited about the challenges posed to him through learning. And, academically, he has excelled.

Again, I do love Montessori and it made me a bit sad that it wasn't suited for him. However, I believe in listening to my children and following their personalities. His lead us to a different style of education.
post #43 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipse95 View Post
Honestly, even though we tried to pinpoint what exactly was missing, we never could. He just had no enthusiasm for learning their way. He needed something more concrete, more competitive, with more pressure. He is a perfectionist with procrastination tendencies. He has a personality where he will do the least necessary unless he is really pushed and challenged. It wasn't that he was suffering academically or socially, as he was at level and had tons of friends, and he wasn't acting out in any way. We could just tell that he wasn't happy with it. It was obvious that he wasn't even close to fulfilling his potential.

I'm not a mother who puts much stock in where children "should" be. I think all children learn in different ways, at different levels and at different times. It has been truly amazing to watch him blossom in a traditional school. Now, he gets excited about the challenges posed to him through learning. And, academically, he has excelled.

Again, I do love Montessori and it made me a bit sad that it wasn't suited for him. However, I believe in listening to my children and following their personalities. His lead us to a different style of education.
I totally agree with your approach and thanks for sharing... my son is into praise/external reinforcement and has been since we could gauge it, so I am curious to see how he keeps going in Montessori or whether at some point he'll need more traditional reinforcement. (Poor him because my partner and I are not so into the praise thing!)

Right now it works just fine because he is so driven to explore, but I wonder if it will level off as he gets older... just kind of a feeling I have. So thanks again for sharing; I think it is a great story of a really plugged in mother.
post #44 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennifer View Post
t

I wonder if it is really appropriate for 3-5 year olds to be writing in cursive? That is how much of the work was done. The kids were using the counting blocks and counting into the thousands...is this a case of just "achieving" more?
I am very curious about cursive too. I think cursive writing is fine but at the school we visited the moveable alphabet was also in cursive. I wonder if they will work with printed letters also? I worry if there is too much emphasis on cursive they may have trouble reading typed letters.
post #45 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by KBecks View Post
I am very curious about cursive too. I think cursive writing is fine but at the school we visited the moveable alphabet was also in cursive. I wonder if they will work with printed letters also? I worry if there is too much emphasis on cursive they may have trouble reading typed letters.
Cursive writing can be achieve much quicker for a 3 to 5 year old than a child who has learned manuscript writing before cursive.

Cursive is easier to learn for the child just starting to write b/c children are encouraged to scribble when coloring during their art activities. The scribbling trains them to keep a steady motion while writing.

Cursive is a steady motion. Manuscript forces the child to constantly pick up their medium while writing. The expression of freelance writing is often disturbed during the manuscript lesson.

Once a child that young has been exposed to cursive, it sticks. Manuscript can be applied without ever worrying about having to teach cursive again. Given the child in question is compatible for Montessori. To each their own, so they'll thrive.
post #46 of 52
I understand the mechanics of cursive. I just want to know that the kids get exposure to typed letters for reading recognition.
post #47 of 52
They do get the exposure in several ways. First of all, they work with the moveable alphabet (which is sometimes cursive, but often print). But everything in their world is in print with the exception of the sandpaper letters and their own written work. They seem to pick up print easily and naturally as parents and teachers read aloud to them (and they see the print with the pictures). Street signs, food labels, books and magazines around the house, etc. are all in print. Also, most of the other Montessori materials such as grammar boxes, nomenclature materials, interpretive reading are in print.
post #48 of 52
Writing is introduced in Montessori with cursive sandpaper letters (American adaptation is to use print - this is not Montessori although a print alphabet is used for reading activities). The lessons progress to work with the moveable alphabet, then using chalkboards and sandtrays. There is then a progression of paper sizes and lessons with writing single letters to whole words on paper.
Montessori stressed the cursive writing because it follows the natural rhythms of childrens artwork (progressing from scribbling to representational drawing). This is a natural way of writing because the pencil flows along the paper without stopping or lifting.
The circular movements of cursive are developed by the "indirect preparations" (Montessoriese) involved in activities such as table washing, polishing and many of the sensorial materials esp. the geometry cabinet and the cylinders. More specifically, the metal insets develop the motions and muscles needed for good cursive writing.
There is less confusion between the cursive and the print forms of some letters (esp. b, d, p and q). There are many fewer cases of reversals and cases of dyslexia. This is anecdotal (and personally experienced) for the most part at this time. Further research would be interesting (maybe I will do it - I've been trying to think of a research idea) I enjoyed reading the pp who also witnessed this.
The child who can read cursive can also read manuscript, but the reverse is not always true.
In printing, the child often confuses and interchages lower case and capital letters. For ex, AndY instead of Andy. This is rarely a problem in cursive.
Since cursive writing is used primarily thorughout one's life, Montessori presents this first when interest in learning to write is greatest. Many older children and adults who were taught manuscript first have not made the transition to cursive and continue the slower and more awkward manuscript.
post #49 of 52
About the cursive, I'd like to add to everything already mentioned, that learning cursive is supposed to be easier for the 4-6 yr olds, because they are still in the "sensitive period for fine motor control".
I have heard quite a few stories about kids who did better in regular public schools, mainly because they seemed to need that pressure of having clear-cut, non-ambiguous expectations set by the teacher and by a group of peers all doing basically the same tasks. Some kids just don't have the "intrinsic motivation" and won't learn very well in an environment where they need to be mainly self-directed.
Learning to read print is no problem for the kids who learn cursive writing early - they are surrounded by block letters and introduced to them from a very young age. And almost all the reading they do is from print letters.
I think one problem that happens with Montessori is that occasionally you have 3 yr-olds who are simply not ready for that kind of structure and the expectations involved in being part of a little community like a M. classroom. I've seen kids who barely said a word for the entire year in the classroom, but as soon as they walked out the door turned into expressive little chatterboxes.
But despite the fact that Montessori is not a perfect fit for everyone, I think most children do love it and thrive (if it is a true Montessori school).
post #50 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anandamama View Post
I have heard quite a few stories about kids who did better in regular public schools, mainly because they seemed to need that pressure of having clear-cut, non-ambiguous expectations set by the teacher and by a group of peers all doing basically the same tasks. Some kids just don't have the "intrinsic motivation" and won't learn very well in an environment where they need to be mainly self-directed.
Did better at what?

I will agree this may be more helpful for some for some things. I'm just curious in what ways and for whom. I'm also curious about what consequences there are to that.

It also begs the question: How adaptable are Montessori teachers to different learning styles? I always say a benefit of Montessori is the observation. When a teacher sees something that is not working, how do they adapt? With a 3 hour work cycle, how are we getting this child that does have trouble choosing activities the skills he needs to do so? Also, are we quick to judge the idea that this child needs to choose activities? Is it absolutely necessary?

Now I'm throwing out the questions rather than answering them. Discuss ;-)

Matt
post #51 of 52
Hmm, I'm trying to figure out how to put a quote in a box within the text... can't be that hard - can someone help me out?

What I meant by "do better" is really "be happier". I don't say this from direct experience, but from talking to parents who felt that their kids were happier, more relaxed, and more challenged in a more "traditional" school setting. This was after the parents observed their kids both at a Montessori school and later at the other school. I'm thinking here specifically of elementary-age children, for whom the learning expectations tend to be more explicit than for the primary age.

My impression, from talking to teachers, kids, and parents at the school I used to work at, is that it did happen that some children would have an aversion to a subject they found difficult - like maybe math, and, in the complex dance of the classroom day, would manage to dance around doing it! Maybe these were older kids who never had the primary foundation in Montessori and their natural love of learning was quashed before they came to M. school - I can't remember right now the specific history of the children I'm thinking of.

MM designed the classroom to have a large child to adult ratio so that it would be harder for the teachers to dominate and oversee every child activity - am I right? The down side to this is that it does take an incredibly observant, active teacher to make sure every kid is getting what they need in a timely manner. Some subjects, with some kids, fall between the cracks.
But this happens in public schools, too - or I would know my multiplication tables better than I do! So maybe it isn't a M. problem. I'm open to other interpretations.

The upper elementary classroom at the school I worked at was an enormous classroom of more than 50 kids, with 4 teachers. I never spent much time in there, but I wondered about how it worked as far as teachers making sure that the students had at least the academic basics they needed.

Would love to hear from some M. elementary teachers on this.
post #52 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anandamama View Post
The upper elementary classroom at the school I worked at was an enormous classroom of more than 50 kids, with 4 teachers.
My take is that you are right in that it takes an active teacher, with good observation and planning skills to make sure that kids don't fall through the cracks. But I also think the above set-up is quite unusual. Most elementary classes I've seen have no more than 30 kids at the most, often far fewer (20-24) and one teacher, sometimes a teacher and an assistant. That makes it a bit easier to keep track. More later, kids need me...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Montessori
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › Montessori › Montessori Critics