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Montessori vs Traditional

When you walk into a Montessori class for the first time, you notice that the students face toward the center of the classroom, toward a central activity area, and toward other students, rather than toward the teacher. This difference between traditional and Montessori educational methods is significant and symbolic. It says that the student rather than the teacher is the focus of activity in a Montessori classroom.  This is even more significant in the life of deaf children, as their world is based entirely on their other senses.


  1. Emphasis on cognitive structures and social
  2. Teacher’s role is unobtrusive; child actively participates in learning
  3. Environment and method encourage internal
  4. Individual and group instruction adapts to each
    student’s learning style
  5. Mixed age grouping
  6. Children encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help
    each other
  7. Child chooses own work from interests, abilities
  8. Child formulates concepts from self-teaching
  9. Child works as long as s/he wants on chosen project
  10. Child sets own learning pace to internalize
  11. Child spots own errors thru feedback from material
  12. Learning is reinforced internally thru child’s own
    repetition of activity, internal feelings of success repetition
  13. Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration
  14. Organized program for learning care of self and
    self-care environment (shoe polishing, sink washing, etc.)
  15. Child can work where s/he is comfortable, moves and
    talks at will (yet doesn’t disturb others); group work is voluntary and
  16. Organized program for parents to understand the
    Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process

  1. Emphasis on rote knowledge and social development
  2. Teacher’s role is dominant, active; child is a
    passive participant
  3. Teacher is primary enforcer of external discipline
  4. Individual and group instruction conforms to the
    adult’s teaching style
  5. Same age grouping
  6. Most teaching done by teacher and collaboration is
  7. Curriculum structured with little regard for child’s
  8. Child is guided to concepts by teacher
  9. Child usually given specific time for work
  10. Instruction pace set by group norm or teacher
  11. Errors corrected by teacher
  12. Learning is reinforced externally by rewards,
  13. Few materials for sensory, concrete manipulation
  14. Little emphasis on instruction or classroom
  15. Child assigned seat; encouraged to sit still and
    listen during group sessions
  16. Voluntary parent involvement, often only as
    fundraisers, not participants in understanding the learning process