The Montessori Education System and the Desire to Learn

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Paulo Freire discusses what he refers to as the banking system of education in Pedagogy of the Oppressed. The student is viewed as an object on which the teacher must place information in the banking system. The student has no control over their own thinking; The teacher’s instructions must simply be retained by the student. Paulo Freire strongly disagreed with the banking system. He argued that the banking system is not intended to effectively educate people but rather one of control. The teacher’s job in the banking system is to shape and change the students’ behavior, sometimes in a way that almost looks like a fight. The instructor tries to spoon-feed the student information that the student may not be interested in or believe in.

The majority of students eventually dislike school due to this process. The majority of people won’t seek knowledge unless it is required for a grade in a class because they develop resistance and a negative attitude toward learning in general as a result. According to Freire, the only way to provide students with a genuine education in which they engage in cognitive activity is to transition away from the banking system and toward what he referred to as problem-posing education. “Students, as they are increasingly posed with problems relating to themselves in the world and with the world, will feel increasingly challenged and obliged to respond to that challenge,” Freire wrote in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, describing how a problem-posing educational system might function. The resulting comprehension tends to be increasingly critical and, consequently, always less alienated because they perceive the challenge as interrelated to other problems within a total context rather than as a theoretical question”(81). The educational system designed by Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator, is a tried-and-true method of problem-posing education that encourages students to learn rather than hinders them.

The banking concept is plagued by two major issues, according to Freire. The first is that a student need not be actively thinking in order to understand the banking concept. The student is not expected to comprehend the material, but rather to merely memorize and repeat it. Students become passive learners who don’t understand or believe what they are being taught but accept and repeat it because they have no choice but to. This also kills their interest in the subject and inhibits their creativity. The second and most significant effect of the banking concept is that it grants those who choose what is taught enormous power to oppress those who are forced to learn and accept it. According to Freire, the issue lies in the fact that the teacher has all the answers, all the keys, and does all the thinking. The opposite is true of the Montessori educational method. It forces students to think on their own and solve problems, allowing them to draw their own conclusions. The teachers only provide the student with direction; they do not instruct the student as to what is true or false or how to solve a problem.

In the Montessori method, even if a student finds a method for solving a problem that is slower or less effective than a standard mechanical method, the teacher will not interfere with the process because this teaches the student to solve problems on their own and to come up with creative solutions.

The banking approach to education that Freire referred to is almost identical to the educational system that is in place in the United States, particularly from kindergarten through the end of high school. The majority of what students do in high school is sit in class and take notes. They then get a grade based on how well they finish their homework and projects, and then they are tested to see if they can use or reproduce the information they were taught. The majority of the time, students are merely information receivers and do not contribute to the creation of knowledge. The grading system is another way that the banking education system and the American education system are almost identical. The extent to which students comply with the teacher’s instructions and are willing to follow them is largely reflected in their grades. Grades are more indicative of a student’s willingness to comply with instructions and submit to authority than they are of a student’s intelligence, interest in the class, or comprehension of the material being taught. For instance, a student who does not agree that a representative democracy is superior to any other form of government will perform worse in a government class in the United States than a student who simply accepts that a representative democracy is superior to a direct democracy, socialism, communism, or another social system. The educational system in the United States rewards students who adhere to the curriculum and penalizes those who do not.

In addition, it discourages students from thinking for themselves and asking questions. Most students don’t like high school because it’s boring and repetitive, and if they do well on their assignments, it’s just so they can get a grade rather than learn something new or investigate a new concept.

The Montessori Method emphasizes child-centered instruction and empowers students to take charge of their own education. The Montessori Method, according to E.M. Standing’s The Montessori Revolution in Education, “is a method based on the principle of freedom in a prepared environment”(5). Despite the fact that the Montessori system does not have a grading system or an obligatory work load, studies conducted on two groups of students between the ages of 6 and 12 show that it performs similarly to the standard system in both English and social sciences; However, Montessori students perform significantly better in math, science, and problem-solving. Students are free to pursue their interests and curiosity under the Montessori method. Because of this, the Montessori method encourages students to actively pursue knowledge for pleasure. This means that students will want to learn and will discover information about subjects that interest them because doing so is enjoyable.
The Montessori Method of education was first developed by Maria Montessori in the early 20th century.

The relationships between the child, the adult, and the environment are the primary focus of the Montessori Method. The child is viewed as an individual as he or she grows up. The Montessori method implicitly emphasizes letting the child be who they naturally are. According to Montessori, the conventional educational system causes children to lose numerous childlike characteristics, some of which are regarded as virtues. “among the traits that disappear are not only untidiness, disobedience, sloth, greed, egoism, quarrelsomeness, and instability, but also the so-called “creative imagination,” delight in stories, attachment to individuals, play, submissiveness, and so forth,” Loeffler writes in Montessori in Contemporary American Culture. The Montessori method works to help a child naturally develop self-confidence and the ability and willingness to actively seek knowledge and find unique solutions to problems by thinking creatively because of this perceived loss of the child. The fact that a child does not have a predetermined time frame within which they must complete a task is another significant difference in the way that children learn in the Montessori method. Instead, the child is given permission to work on a task for as long as he or she likes. Children in this situation are better able to concentrate on a single task for a longer period of time than those in the traditional educational system.

Another fundamental difference between the Montessori Method and conventional education is the adult or teacher role in the Montessori system. The adult is not required to constantly instruct and direct the student in the Montessori Method. It is the responsibility of the adult to lead the child so that the child can continue to pursue his or her interests and develop their own ideas of what is real, right, and true. According to Montessori, the child is an individual who is constantly and intensely changing. Based on her observations, Montessori came to the conclusion that a child would always find equilibrium with his environment if allowed to develop on his own. For example, he would learn not to mistreat others and how to interact positively with his peers. This is significant because it leads to one of the most fundamental ideas of the Montessori Method, which is that adults shouldn’t let children feel their presence. This indicates that even though an adult is present in the classroom with the students, the adult does not always interact with them unless the students ask the adult a question or ask for assistance. Also, the adult needs to make sure that the students don’t feel like they’re being watched or judged. The adult is able to offer the children advice, but they are never told what to do or how to do it. The adult should not be viewed as an authoritative figure; rather, he or she should be viewed more or less as a child’s peer.