Magazine article Montessori Life

21st-Century Montessorians

Magazine article Montessori Life

21st-Century Montessorians

Article excerpt

Some months ago, my column urged all of you to tell the story of Montessori education often, to the outside community as well to your committed constituencies. Two events that I experienced recently reinforce the importance of this practice.

First, as a member of NJMAC (New Jersey Montessori Association Corporation), a regional group founded to support and provide a network for Garden State Montessori educators, I attended a luncheon meeting and workshop hosted by the Albrook School. Our guest speaker was Dr. Linda Zankowsky, head of Wilmington Montessori School (Wilmington, DE). During her address, Linda referred to the work being done nationally by groups such as the National Center on Education, the Partnership for 21stCentury Skills, and the Coalition on Essential Schools.

These groups evolved from mounting concern that our young people will not be ready to compete in the 21st-century economy, and that academic achievement in core competencies alone will not prepare the next generation for a global marketplace. They conclude that it is the development and mastery of such conceptual and applied skills as creativity, innovation, problem solving, international ethics and social responsibility, teamwork, and communications that will equip our young people for an ever-changing world.

I can think of a 100-year-old methodology that promotes these very skills, and I bet you can too! Not only were Montessori curriculum, materials, methodology, and core values developed with a prescient understanding of the important role these skills play in education, but they are also available to children of all ages.

A few days later, I was reading the October 2007 issue of Educational Leadership, a monthly publication put out by ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; worth a trip to the library, if you're not familiar with it. One of the featured articles was a recent study by Dr. Carol S. Dweck, a psychologist and extraordinary educational researcher, entitled "The Perils and Promises of Praise" (October 2007, Volume 65, Number 2, Early Intervention at Every Age, pp. 34-39).

Dweck maintains that praise can either result in selfdefeating behaviors or in the motivation to learn. She begins by talking about two different ways that people perceive their intelligence: fixed or malleable /growing. Those who believe that intelligence is fixed may not take risks, may not want to make mistakes, may fear that effort will make them look less intelligent, and may not recover well from setbacks. …

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