Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It's a problem-Where is the evidence for Montessori?

It is time to come together as Montessori schools to make a persuasive public argument for Montessori.

At the recent AIMS Chicago Winter ConferenceTrevor Eissler, author of Montessori Madness, spoke frankly about the need for Montessori schools to purposely and collectively make itself part of the conversation about education. 

John Long, in a recent post on his blog Education By Design , summarizes Steven Hughes',(PHD, pediatric neuropsychologist) recent presentation at the AMI Refresher Course about building the evidence for Montessori schools.

Here's Dr. Hughes hypothesis: 'Montessori schools can demonstrate that their students develop more advanced social skills, creativity, self-control, intrinsic motivation, executive functioning and moral reasoning than do their counterparts in conventional schools – without sacrificing academic performance.'

Background: Unlike conventional schools, Montessori schools care about more than test results. Yes, Montessori schools do care about cognitive development and academic learning; but their first aim is to create positive learning communities in order to develop creative, self-motivated young people who are kind and compassionate, who demonstrate high levels of self-control and self-management, and who work well with others. Just like academic achievement, growth in these areas can be measured. The instruments are out there and are used all the time by neuropsychologists, developmental psychologists, cognitive psychologists, educational psychologists, and educational researchers.

Dr. Hughes is launching a national research project to collect this data over the next five years.

Here are some examples of norm-referenced assessments of social skills, creativity (or this alternative), internal vs external motivation (locus of control), executive functioning, and moral judgment. These are examples of the skills that Dr. Hughes suggests we test over the next 5 years in order to confirm what we know: that Montessori students do better in these areas than students in conventional schools. That is why parents often say, “Montessori kids are different.” This will tell us HOW they are different…and measure it in ways that can be described.

Here's the video of Dr. Hughes presentation.

Yes, it is over an hour.

It is worth every minute of your time.

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