EDUCATION FOR INNOVATION: The Montessori Way The Montessori Method
In 1943, a 15-year boy at Eton was told thathis goal of becoming a scientist was “utterlyridiculous.”Why: “insists on doing his work in his own way."
Sir John Gurdon 2012 Nobel Prize for Medicine Revolutionized thinking in cell development;pioneer in work in nuclear transplantation and cloningHow many John Gurdons have we we stifled?
More than ever, we should cultivate, not criticize, independence and innovation Key to economic growth….“The most important determinant behind economic growth is theinnovative nature of an economy.“The role of innovation has been critical to economicdevelopment as the nation has evolved over the decades. Thereis a clear statistical link between innovations and gains in thestandard of living.” Abby Joseph Cohen, president, Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute and senior investment strategist
And for individuals: Everything that can be outsourced WILL be outsourced“The people who will succeed in more expensive labormarkets like the U.S. will be those who can think creativelyand generate the IDEAS that will propel economic growth.”-Vivek Ranadivé, founder, TIBCO Software Inc., one of the world’s leading billion- dollar enterprise software companies
Traditional schools structured to stifle, not promote, innovation:• Obsession with standardized testing• Rigid grade classifications-birthday lottery• Lock step learning• Disruptive schedules• Crowded classrooms
Why? Schools grew out of Prussian model “Our schools are factories in which the raw product (children) are to be shaped and fashioned.” - Ellwood P. Cubberley, “Public School Administration, 1922
Agrarian age→ Industrial age → Information age: Time to retool Montessori method designed to work with, not against, human nature to build upon a child’s innate curiosityas the foundation for a lifetime of learning, exploration and problem-solving.
Dr. Maria Montessori• Italys first female physician• A humanitarian and devout Catholic• Founded the Casa dei Bambini for impoverished and mentally disabled students in Rome in 1907
“It is not true that I invented what is called the Montessori Method. I have studied the child, I have taken what the child has given me and expressed it, and that is what is called the Montessori Method.”
Montessori‟s scientific observations formedthe foundation of her educational method:• Episodes of deep attention and concentration• Repetition of activity• Sensitivity and need for order in the environment• Innate curiosity and desire to learn• More interest in practical activities than in toys• Help me do it by myself• Over time, she saw a spontaneous self-discipline emerge
Based on her observations, Montessoriimplemented a number of innovations• Moveable and accessible furniture and materials• Practical activities such as sweeping and personal care• Physical exercise and connection to outdoor environment• Multi-sensory learning: tactile, kinesthetic
Based on her observations, Montessoriimplemented a number of innovations• Uninterrupted work• Freedom of movement and activity within limits• Mixed age classrooms
Role of teacher: to guide The aim of education: independence• “The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, „the children are now working as if I did not exist.‟"• “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”• “Free the childs potential, and you will transform him into the world.”
Result: life-time love of learning“Our care of the child should be governed not by the desire to„make him learn things,‟ but by the endeavor always to keepburning within him the light which is called intelligence.” - Dr. Maria Montessori “Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.” - William Butler Yeats
The science behind the methodMontessori is “the original brain-based method of education becauseit is based on scientifically recognized principles of humandevelopment.” - Dr. Steven Hughes, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology
Benefits of Montessori education:• Responsibility, self-control and independence• Student works for satisfaction of learning• Helps the child to help himself• Responsibility for one‟s own education• Follow their curiosity• Helping and teaching others• Respect and community
Respect• Students are respected and expected to learn• Respect is mutual, based on partnership not power and submission• Guided to independence
Respect is based on trust on trust and partnership• Child is motivated by love of learning rather than external validation or punishment• Does not mean that everybody will like everybody all the time• Conflicts should be resolved with consideration of dignity of all involved The entire Montessori experience is what is known as “character education.”
Respecting the child builds humanity“The child can annihilate selfishness and awakenthe spirit of sacrifice, tenderness and affectionatecare…. In this way does God move and form theadult through the child.” Maria Montessori
Montessori today:• 5,000 schools around the world• Public, private and religious schools• Infant through grade 12• Most U.S. schools adopt American Montessori Society model• “Montessori” is not a licensed name, and not every “Montessori” school is one
Montessori linked to many of America‟s most innovative and successful leaders:• Sergei Brin and Larry Page: Google• Jimmy Wales: Wikipedia• Jeff Bezos: Amazon• Will Wright: the Sims
Famous Montessorians• Management guru Peter Drucker• Pediatrician/author Dr. T. Berry Brazelton• Entertainment moguls: Sean “P Diddy” Combs, Beyonce, George Clooney• Taste and trend setters: Jacqueline Kennedy and Julia Child• HRH Princes William and Henry• Anne Frank
• “It was part of that training of not following rules and orders and being self-motivated, questioning whats going on in the world, doing things a little bit differently.” - Google co-founder Larry Page• “Montessori taught me the joy of discovery…It showed you can become interested in pretty complex theories, like Pythagorean theory, say, by playing with blocks. It‟s all about learning on your terms, rather than a teacher explaining stuff to you. SimCity comes right out of Montessori.” - Will Wright, computer game designer and original designer of The Sims
Validation: Study of 3,000 global innovators and successful entrepreneurs:“Distinguishing characteristics include a Montessori background and ability to follow their curiosity.” - Jeffrey Dyer of Brigham Young University and Hal Gregersen of INSEAD
Not just for the wealthy: Inner-city Milwaukee Public Montessori School StudyFirst grade:• Outperformed peers on standardized tests in reading and math• Engaged in more positive interaction on the playground• More advanced social cognition and executive control
Sixth grade: • More creative essays with more complex sentence structures • Selected more positive responses to social dilemmas • Reported feeling more aEDUCATIONFORUM sense of community atEvaluating Montessori Education their schoolAngeline Lillard1* and Nicole Else-Quest2An analysis of students‟ academic and socialscores compares a Montessori school withother elementary school education programs.29 SEPTEMBER 2006 VOL 313 SCIENCEwww.sciencemag.org
Local Montessori options• Mountaineer Montessori School: WV‟s original Montessori School• Founded 1976; track record of exceptional alumni and test results (2010: Half of all GW National Merit Scholars were MMS alumni.)• Collaboration with the University of Charleston Education Department• Professional staff of 18; all lead teachers AMS certified through rigorous on-campus training
Local Montessori options• Experienced. Takes 11 tries to replace highly effective teacher• Adjunct from WVSO, Mountain Stage, WV Golf Association• Rich approved academic curriculum• Preschool through grade 6• After school and summer camp programs• Large international and diverse student population• Financial aid program
Characteristics of MMS and other Montessori classrooms• Mixed-aged classrooms • Do not teach to test, but excel (3-K); 1-3; 4-6 grades at standardized test• Prepared environment with (STANFORD 10) unique materials and lessons • Joyful learning!• Teacher is not center of • Outdoor environment lessons attention • Children contribute to• Calm without need for constant maintenance and order of praise or punishment school• Students work at own level • Collaboration instead of• Work is carefully tracked, but competition not “graded” traditionally• Limited and purposeful homework and tests
Growing interest in Montessori in WV• New Charleston Montessori School meeting growing interest• Several others through WV-most are preschools• No Montessori certification training at West Virginia colleges & universities
Montessori education a selling point for communities:“A few cities removed from the list were closer to my hometown, but itwas an easy decision for me: if the town/city did not have a legitimateMontessori school, it was readily eliminated as an option. It isimportant because I want my child to have the best learning experiencepossible and I believe that starts with Montessori.” - New transferred senior executive
Montessori an asset to WV businesses: “I‟ve always been a naturally curious person, wanting to learn anything I possibly could. I find that there are a lot of situations in work and in life in which a person can take the easy way out. I do not approach situations with a „this is how it has always been done‟ view; instead, I approach them with a „how can this be done better‟ approach.” - Clifton Clark, MMS alum, BB&T
Mountaineer Montessori School Song Spring 2012 Songwriting Workshop
When you think about MMS,what qualities do you think of?
MMS School SongAt Mountaineer MontessoriEveryone knows your name.The whole school is your neighbor.And no day is the same. (innovation value: flexibility and adapting to change)We welcome each other,Every single day.We always work together.Our work is our play. (innovation value: follow your curiosity; create; do what you love)
MMS School SongWhen you have a bad day,There’s always a helping hand. (innovation value: teamwork & leadership)We use our hands for helping,Just because we can.Our community is peaceful.We always persevere. (innovation value: follow-through, tenacity and “grit”)Everyone’s respectful,We really like it here!
MMS School SongWe all come from different places. (innovation value: global economy)We all have different faces.(innovation value: inclusion=innovation) And we are all connected,At Mountaineer Montessori.
Invest in innovationMarch 28, 2013 The Clay Center Benefits financial aid program
On behalf of West Virginia’s future… thank you!