The Autodidactic Theory of M. Montessori - History...

M. Montessori's Autodidactic Theory

Italian Maria Montessori like Frobel gave primary attention to the training and education of toddlers (up to six years). As a certified neurologist, she had been treating children with mental disabilities for two years in a clinic at the University of Rome. It was here that Montessori strengthened in her compassion for children and accumulated a certain experience, which she derived from observing their behavior. Montessori was confident that the behavior of children indicates the state of their psyche. It can be brought back to normal and developed by changing the way children are held and behaved.

There is no evidence of Montessori's interest in philosophy. There are, however, grounds to assert that in her adherence to experimental psychology she manifested herself as a positivist-minded researcher who placed the results of observations above all else. But she was never a consistent positivist. Montessori highly valued the phenomena of faith, hope, trust, even the mention of which is extremely rare in the works of the positivists.

In her views, there was much similar to the ideas of Rousseau and Pestalozzi. Like Rousseau, she attached great importance to the child's autonomy, the possibility of such training and education, which would not reproduce the antagonisms of adults.

As to the relationship of her theory with the concept of Pestalozzi, it consists primarily of exceptional attention to the practical activities of children. Figuratively speaking, the formation of the hand leads to the development of mentality and language. However, between the views of Pestalozzi and Montessori there is a fundamental difference in the evaluation of practical activities. For Pestalozzi, objective activity embodies the life of adults. It is included in the functioning of educational institutions as necessary, primarily as a preparation for adulthood. Of course, objective activity provides a variety of opportunities for the intensification of the educational process. But these opportunities are secondary. Didactics and education follow the labor activity, therefore, they are secondary.

The main idea of ​​Montessori is that the objective activity of children is the main didactic means of their development. Its paradigm can be depicted as follows: children's objective activity = & gt; language = & gt; mentality.

There is no question of imitating the work of adults. Objective activity acts as a fundamental form of pedagogical work, saturated precisely with its concepts. It is not a means of education, but an immanent content. The child realizes it in accordance with its capabilities, inherited from the parents. The teacher should be able to see in the actions of children their conceptual content, if necessary, adjusting it.

To avoid misunderstandings, we note that Montessori herself never described in any detail her paradigm identified above. She focused on three concepts. So, the main thing is that we must remember. First, it is the interest of the child, which leads him to concentrate on learning. Secondly, the cooperation of children, an invaluable base of which is a different age. Thirdly, the existence of a human instinct of autonomy, which leads to discipline and order. And all this is the basis of the organization of the school of my direction. " This concise statement of the essence, as it is often expressed, of the Montessori method needs additional characterization.

The true interest of a child can manifest itself only as a freedom of his choice. And this choice itself presupposes the choice of the desired from some kind of available material. Otherwise, it can not take place. It is at this point that the Montessori approach works. Teachers carefully prepare didactic environment. The child himself chooses the zone and the concrete material with which he wants to work. If it does not arouse the interest of the child, then this indicates a teacher's misses. Otherwise, their outstanding insight triumphs. The freedom to choose a child is sent unnoticed to him. The activity of the student acquires a special purpose. As emphasized by Montessori, it is not a question of the Frobel game, but of a complex conceptual activity.

Didactic material, according to Montessori, should be formed in such a way that children are deprived of the opportunity to make the same choice at the same time. As a result, they find themselves in different positions, creating an opportunity for learning from each other and mutual understanding. The hour of hermeneutics comes. According to observations Montessori in the group should be at least 25 children. She advocated an individual approach, but not at the expense of the collective life of children. When the individual approach is absolutized, the child learns only from the teacher. Meanwhile, very much he can learn from his older and even younger friends.

Thus, the child's autonomy is not absolute. Nevertheless, there is no such pedagogical theory in which the concept of self-education has been given more attention than in the Montessori concept. It is in this connection that we decided to characterize her theory as "autodidactical".

Against the theory of Montessori, numerous arguments were put forward. In particular, she was accused of not taking into account the socio-historical context. What was considered appropriate in the first half of the 20th century, does not necessarily have to be relevant in later periods. It was alleged that she tried to educate all children in a single channel, which prevented them from showing their individuality. But, according to Montessori, the single does not mean uniform. Some critics accused her of forgetting morality. Montessori also believed that the freedom of the child is just the basis of his morality, including responsibility. Note also that the Montessori theory is most successfully used in kindergartens. She herself tried to characterize the features of three age groups (from birth to six, from six to 12 and from 12 to 18). However, her judgments about the last two age groups often contradicted the experimental data of other authoritative researchers, for example Piaget.

Montessori's exceptional pedagogical talent is not questioned, but it seems that her works lack philosophical thoroughness. We believe that by virtue of this she was not always able to adequately express her own ideas.


1. M. Montessori's ideas about the free choice of a didactic material by a child and the significance of its objective activity, of course, remain relevant.

2. M. Montessori's texts lack philosophical thoroughness.

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