|Scooped by Katie Figgie|
This is a critical examination of the Montessori Method by William Heard Kilpatrick a colleague of John Dewey. Both Dewey and Kilpatrick are opposed to some of the ideas of Montessori. The main idea Kilpatrick focuses on is the lack of creativity and the focus on individuality in Montessori classrooms. I found this criticism very interesting because Kilpatrick critiques the areas of Montessori that most people admire. He does not like the tools Montessori schools use that most people absolutely love; he does not like the atmosphere of the classroom which is what drives most people to want to attend Montessori schools. It really challenged what I had previously believed about Montessori education and made me have to look at in a brand new way. I am still a supporter of many of the concepts of Montessori but I do think that Kilpatrick has some redeemable points. In a Montessori classroom the students are given certain tools that help teach them skills such as math or colors. As I read in The Montessori Method: Criticisms and Recollections tools have one certain way of being used. I can absolutely see how Kilpatrick would be wary of that idea because it may not let students discover skills on their own, they are given a tool and there is one way to use it and one outcome of learning it. Montessori is still much more project oriented than traditional schools are however, which is something that John Dewey greatly valued in education. But Kilpatrick still believes there is less cooperation available in Montessori schools because some of the tools do not allow for group work. He states that “The Montessori child, each at his own chosen task, works, as stated, in relative isolation, his nearest neighbors possibly looking on.” From the other articles I read I have gathered that Montessori education does actually have many tools and tasks that children can work on in groups but there are also a great number of options for children to work alone. I personally really agree with the importance of project and group learning so this has really made me consider if Montessori is able to incorporate group work enough into the classroom. Overall I think that this pamphlet is a really interesting perspective on Montessori education because it challenges preconceived ideas of Montessori and really made me look into the actual benefits and consequences of the different ideas. I think it is a good article to end on because it leaves me realizing that there may not be a perfect ideal school, there are good qualities and not so good qualities to all educational philosophies. I really love Montessori’s focus on the whole child, I believe that it is so important to incorporate into a school, especially elementary schools but I can’t help but agree that perhaps not all of the Montessori tools are the ideal way for students to learn.