April 10, 2007

Bringing Montessori into mainstream education

It’s good, it is holistic, and is child-friendly. And yet Montessori is widely seen as experimental, with parents and education policy makers not quite willing to accept it as mainstream school education. A report in The Hindu says the system has been adopted in just 10 schools in Bangalore, Chennai, till the fifth std.

I didn’t know Bangalore has an institute of Montessori studies, which has trained nearly 100 teachers in the past decade. A couple of teachers from the institute spoke to the media about the positives of the Montessori system. Every child works to his/her own time-table. The focus is on hands-on method of learning; on laying the ‘right foundation for blooming to happen’.

That’s fine, but does it get children the kind of grades they do, with the rote-based system? This is what concerns most parents. And this is why they prefer to put their children in conventional schools, where they are encouraged to rely on coaching classes and guidebooks to get through their exams. Does the Montessori Institute have an answer to such parental concerns?

The answer lies with the government. It needs to take a policy decision to have all primary schools in Karnataka adopt the Montessori method. The government school teachers could be suitably retrained.

Meanwhile at the Bangalore institute they are reportedly conducting seminars on ‘Understanding Montessori’ for the benefit of anyone who cares to attend – teachers, parents, social workers, child psychologists. Check out their website. Contact – iims.blr@gmail.com .

1 comment:

Montessori said...

A few thoughts on your post on the Montessori Seminar series:

- Grades are important, but are they the be all, end all of education? I mean, does it really matter to parents whether the child gets 95% in 1st standard, instead of 85% or 75%? Does it have any meaning? I think this is where Montessori education is misunderstood a great deal. It is not as if a Montessori child is not ready to compete anywhere. It is just that competition is not necessarily conducive for development at that age. And this has been scientifically proven.

- I agree that the Government must step in to make Montessori education more accessible. In other south and south east asian countries, the governments are a lot more involved in bringing the benefits of Montessori method to the majority of children, not just leaving it on the fringes. Montessori method is neither new, nor is it a fad of some sort - here's a scientifically proven, well researched, scientific method of helping children learn in a more holistic manner, that has been around for a hundred years. We are open to technological innovations everywhere (especially in our cell phones) but we want to use near ancient concepts of pedagogy with no intention of benefiting from advances in educational research. All this, in the name of making our child more competitive!!

- An erratum on your post - www.montessori.in is an educational portal for increasing the awarenesss of montessori education among parents and general public. It is not affiliated to IIMS (as indicated in The Hindu and in your post) but is an independent body. Please visit our website to understand more about the method and its praxis in India.

Thanks and regards,
The montessori.in Team