As writer Mark Twain said – Do not let school get in the way of your education. If you think about it, school and education are, in fact, two completely different concepts, and this distinguishment is what the Montessori Method is all about. It actually places the student at the centre, thus opposing the commonly-known automatized educational system that has been imposed during the 20th century. This approach to acquiring knowledge is over 100 years old, but it still has a potent effect on every single modern mind which implements its principles of learning. If you want a proof, you might want to check the founders of Google or Amazon.
How did Maria Montessori envision it?
Based on the insights and ideas of Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori, she put an emphasis on maintaining a child’s natural physiological, physical, and social development, its independence, will to learn, to be curious, and to be free within limitation. There is no division of generations, but mixed age classrooms instead; it establishes a collaborative environment that doesn’t rely on marks, measurement, or tests; and it focuses on self-directed learning which is the key for a mind to autonomously bloom. There is so much to learn and to uncover in and out of this world, there is simply no room for putting creativity, imagination, and critical thinking in a mould. Timeless musician Frank Zappa explained it beautifully – Only when you defy the norm, there can be progress.
Well-known Personas declaring as a life-long students
This approach has spawned admirable people who are considered to be a resourceful, capable, and creative elite of the world. Once again, Google’s Larry Page and Sergei Brin, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos are students of the Montessori method, alongside with, for instance, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, eerie illusionist and magician David Blaine, Academy award-winning actor George Clooney, legendary violinist Joshua Bell, prodigy cellist Yo Yo Ma, actress Dakota Fanning, and many other famous individuals. You might have noticed that all these enumerated people still declare themselves as students, regardless of their age, and that is because education is supposed to be a life-long pursuit, not a task that needs to be completed and set aside afterwards. Should the journey of learning end, then what’s the point of it all?
Benefits of Montessori Education
In this turbulent, rapidly changing world we live in, adaptability is a much more useful and respected trait than the ability to fetch yourself a diploma or produce outputs. Yes, being an academic is a noble title, but the pace at which everything nowadays evolves and shifts requires a more consistent mind which is ready to adjust to all manner of imposed conditions of time. A movie ‘The Man from Earth’ puts this necessity in perspective. Based on a premise that the main character John Oldman cannot die, he explains that all of his academic credibility and achievements throughout his immortal life eventually diminish. The entire world constantly keeps expanding the overall knowledge prompting him to adapt and pick up on all scientific, cultural, and even religious trends. If it were otherwise, he would simply become obsolete.
Inspiring students to be deep-rooted learners who love education is at the core of the Montessori Method. To answer the title-question – yes, there is no doubt that garnering sufficient knowledge to ask the right questions, to consider different points of view, to analyse, understand, anticipate, and more will help produce successful, sensible, and proficient people. Remember, anyone can embark on this educational approach at any time, as long as they are eager to expand and discipline their intellect, awareness, intuition, skills and consciousness. No one is perfect, but perfection is the noblest of pursuits.