“Montessori: The Missing Voice in the Education Reform Debate”
An interesting article has been circulating in the Montessori world over the last several weeks. In a January 27, 2012 Huffington Post piece, Laura Flores Shaw advocates for Montessori education as a more deliberate part of the education reform debate. Shaw describes her transformation to becoming a Montessorian and the things that she knows work: giving children the ability to move around the classroom, small group lessons, and attention to the individual interests of students. And she reminds us of what we know doesn’t work: extrinsic rewards, punishment, and tests – lots of them.
What do educators like Shaw and others (including us) mean by education that works? I believe we mean education that motivates children and builds an intrinsic love of learning. We mean school environments that foster respect for each and every child. We mean school days that leave students happy, and eager to come back for more. Just as important (maybe even more important) than giving children the tools to lead successful lives in the future, is giving them a daily view of meaning and purpose in their lives right now. Isn’t that what we all want, children and adults alike, every day?
If you haven’t already, read Laura Flores Shaw’s piece.
And be sure to read the comments – they are the beginning of a great education reform discussion, one that needs to stretch well beyond the Montessori community.