What is the relationship between Montessori and Public schools in your area?

Discussion in 'Montessori' started by lenrely, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. lenrely

    lenrely New Member

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    Jul 6, 2011

    I am writing a thesis on Alternative Education and am having a hard time finding out whether Montessori providers and mainstream Academicians are competitors or bedfellows. It seems to be different in each district. Answers from different experiences will give me an idea of how many unique situations are out there.
    1. In your area has the school system traditionally been an antagonist toward the program and tried to discourage it?
    2. Is your program encorporated into the public school district? If so, do they give the freedom/automony that is needed?
    3. Is your program recommended to certain students by guidance counselors through an agreement between institutions? If so, do these individuals represent any real affinity to Montessori within the school system or are they just giving out free information?
    4. Do you feel that despite support of your program, mainstream schools are still the enemy because of their teaching methods? Does your program have the support of the state but they would never allow it to be the dominant education provider?
    5. Do you feel that education is a meeting place where all methods should be friends?
    6. Is the Montessori student himself a competitor of the public school student, and is this competition a good thing?

    Any opinions would be appreciated.
     
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  3. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Jul 6, 2011

    While I teach in a private school,not public, I can say that the biggest animosity I've found in the teaching profession in general, is from the teachers who know nothing about Montessori. Montessori teachers are a sharing kind, and we often borrow ideas from each other and we even teach in teams, so there's a natural fellowship. Part of Montessori's philosophy is all about peace and developing a peaceful community, and part of that is sharing and taking care of each other. As a natural offshoot, Montessori teachers naturally want to help and encourage each other for the benefit of the children.

    In terms of Montessori in the public schools, the information I get from my friends is that it's very much changed. the montessori method, that is. They find themselves needing to "teach to the test" and with the amount of testing and benchmarking they have to do with these children, it's difficult to really maintain a true Montessori classroom. They do the best they can, but it's not the best.

    I've been a Montessori teacher for 24 years and what I'm discovering now is that many mainstream teachers and schools are incorporating things that Montessori has done since her inception. She based her philosophy on the scientific method, doing research and observing these children, and now finally, FINALLY, mainstream education is focusing on what research says works for children instead of listening to the words of someone trying to market and sell a reading or math program. Every time I see a material in a "teacher magazine" that's touted as new, and it's actually a re-worked Montessori material, I smile. :)

    I find myself wishing that all children could have the experience of being in a Montessori classroom, with knowledgeable, caring teachers. There's something about the authenticity of it all that makes it really really work for the children, particularly as they get older. It's more than just an educational method, really. It's a way of being and interacting with others that will stay with these children for life.
     
  4. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Jul 6, 2011

    Montessori is a great way of thinking and teaching. Public schools incorporate many of the ideas into the everyday learning. While there is a state assessment in public schools in the upper grades, we approach testing as a genre. We give kids the tools that they will need in order to pass a test and use the knowledge that they have in order to transfer that knowledge to what they are being asked on a test. I believe that all kids learn differently, and that teachers (for the most part) share, are caring, and knowledgeable. I think to say that one educational theory is best or better overall for every child would be unfair. There are many creative and resourceful teachers that are making a difference everyday in the public schools. And our students learn through a variety of ways.

    Montessori students are not in a competition with the public school students. It is just a different philosophy of teaching that works for some. Public schools do cater to students in that they are preparing them to become college and career ready. The hope is that all students whether they are public school, private school, etc. have the same opportunities to achieve. No competition here. Just a goal for all students to succeed.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 6, 2011

    Your questions seem to come from a definite perspective. My graduate professors would question the validity of your survey on the basis of biased words (enemy, antagonist, etc) but to give you the perspective of another professional public educator, I will answer.
    :2cents:
     
  6. lenrely

    lenrely New Member

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    Jul 23, 2011

    Thank you all for responding. Czacza, someone worth their academic stripes would know that any survey has a target group, and answers from outside the study area are both invalid and uninvited. The "definite perspective" of this board is that it is Montessori-supportive, and there is a disclaimer against challenges and debates to that philosophy, including an educator's right to share that programs have been slighted in some way by the school system. Otherwise what would keep you from dismissing such things as hooey, since in an academic world how could it be true? That's the thing about research, it reveals things we didn't know about, challenging "there is no reason for"-type statements.

    I do not use "weasel words". When alternative educators are antagonized, ridiculed or put out of business, they have joined a long history of such events at the hands of the dominant education provider. These were not "figurative" discouragement. I doubt your assurances are omnipotent even within your own district, since they are motivated by loyalty. The thing about bias is it goes both ways. Consider that many of us chose Montessori because we know nothing BUT those "rare" students before you say how few of them there are.

    A dominant institution never thinks the complaints at its heels are serious, it just wouldn't be self-serving. Your statements that public schools are the best and yet are not competitors of other instititions makes you sound like a "brand ambassador". Socio-political competition arises between different educational doctrines as long as they are being taught. This is neither a secret nor something that can be discussed if your opinion is "how does saying so serve the cause?". The irony is you wouldn't be in this position if academia were not such a fastidious political juggernaut. PR itself is a competitive weapon when you bring it to the forums of other institutions. Your statement that public schooling encompasses almost every student need is a product of a "there can be only one" system, one institution on top. I can see your views turning on a dime if it was your job or those of your friends that was compromised. (In every scenario where public schooling has been threatened with replacement by another institution, academicians go berserk.) Maybe competition is only real to the losers.

    Objectively the problem with the "everything's fine so there's no need to talk about it" attitude is that the same view is spoken in Germany where homeschoolers are imprisoned, it was spoken when public schooling began in the 1850's and children were rounded up by local militia, and it is spoken by abusive teachers even while they are abusing. Views are shot down in the classroom with the same motive that it happens between institutions or within this thread, to erase them.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 23, 2011

    Not only have I earned my 'academic stripes', lenrely, but I also have an undergraduate degree in marketing and know more than a bit about research.
    Your response has nothing to do with my survey answers nor any of those who responded before me...save your analysis for your thesis. Good luck to you.
     

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