Can Montessori be the answer?

You know that I think the best teaching method out there is a pure Montessori approach. It focuses on how children learn, rather than on how union educators think teachers ought to teach, and instills in children a lifelong love of learning, and a depth of understanding that’s foreign to most American children.

Perhaps Montessori could also be the answer to Islamism run amok. Okay, I know that’s silly thinking, but I couldn’t help thinking about it when I read about the tough-talking, Morocco born, Muslim mayor of a immigrant rich suburb in Amsterdam (emphasis below mine):

For one Amsterdam mayor, the Netherlands’ famous tolerance has gone too far. Morrocan-born Ahmed Marcouch is taking the tough cop approach in a rough Amsterdam neighborhood, pushing his fellow immigrants to integrate. But some consider him a traitor.

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Ahmed Marcouch grew up in this environment, but he has since made a better life for himself. He was illiterate when he came to the Netherlands from Morocco at the age of 10, but he was lucky enough to encounter a teacher at a progressive Montessori school who helped him get on track.

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But since the Van Gogh murder, the gedogen principle no longer applies — at least in Slotervaart, a change that is in no small part due to the mayor’s efforts. Marcouch, a former police officer, experienced at first hand the unrest that followed the Van Gogh murder. He wasn’t a softie like some of his colleagues, who routinely looked the other way when rowdy mobs swaggered through the streets. He took a hard line when he believed it was necessary, which was the case more often than not. And a tougher police approach is suddenly popular with the no-longer-quite-so-relaxed Dutch.

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Marcouch, on the other hand [in contrast to the Dutch government, which talks, but doesn't do], is doing something. He has instructed his officials to conduct one-on-one interviews with young unemployed residents to help them find ways to make a fresh start. Especially tough cases are referred directly to Marcouch.

Although he has no authority over the Amsterdam police force, Marcouch has set up a rapid response team of social workers which constantly patrols the streets on bicycles to defuse hostilities and catch young criminals red-handed.

Marcouch’s brief tenure to date has already left its mark in Slotervaart, where the crime rate has dropped and there is significantly less trash on the streets. “When there’s a lack of cooperation, we have to give them a bit of a push — with force, if necessary,” he says.

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Comments

  1. zzzzzzzz says

    You said:
    “…..It focuses on how children learn, rather than on how union educators think teachers ought to teach, and instills in children a lifelong love of learning, and a depth of understanding that’s foreign to most American children….”
    ——–
    American children make, do, create, invent and uplift….more than most free nations. We see this fact over and over again.

    Public education is broken and is a problem. Private education will do nothing for those who are broken. I suspect Vick, the dog guy, was made better by a free education.

    What would happen if all 1. inner city, 2. non inner-city, 3. random kids were sent to whatever private school you selected? I suspect the quality of that school would decrease.

  2. says

    Clearly, zzzzz…, you haven’t seen Montessori in action. It’s not just the difference between public and private. It’s the difference between teaching children to learn, and stuffing facts in them like force feeding geese. The one is a pleasure that creates autodidacts with a life long hunger for and joy in knowledge; the other creates kids who know how to pass a test, and who excel in meaningless arts and crafts — activities that may be fun in and of themselves, but that bear no relationship to actual pedagogy.

    Longtime readers of my blog know that I’m familiar with both a Montessori education and the traditional public school approach, and that mine is rated an extremely good public school. Having seen both in action, I can tell you that the former educates, the latter, well, it teaches some facts and skills, and mostly bores my children to death.

    Much as I complained about the useless busy work that was the homework they brought home, it had the advantage of showing me the huge holes in what they actually learned, so that I could take my own time, and our family time, to do the teaching the school didn’t do.

  3. says

    I wish that Muslim mayor a long life…..but I wouldn’t put any of my own money on the likelihood, I can tell you.

    It seems apparent to me that Montessori (properly done) produces outstanding results. I also believe that the Catholic parochial school system outperforms the public system, and at significantly lower cost. This has been true even when voucher kids were allowed into the schools. If government provided funds (education vouchers) to parents, rather than to schools, we’d see competition and improved education.

  4. Danny Lemieux says

    I don’t claim to have concluded one way or another whether Montessori is a great program or not, but I have observed in several Montessori graduates an ability to discipline themselves in their intellectual pursuits. That is distinctly different from Catholic School graduates that I have observed – they tend to be highly disciplined work habits.

    I confess that my sample populations is a small one, but has anyone else observed this?

  5. Brad says

    My little boy has been in both types of systems, and my experience has shown Danny to be correct. Of course the teacher and parents factor in, but my son didn’t become a disciplined student in school until he went to a good public school. This is despite the fact that both parents have PhDs and our household is book, garden, and sports oriented, not tv and xbox.

  6. says

    I don’t think the word discipline accurately describes the phenomenon here. Rather it seems more like learning how to function within an orderly system. Orderly systems are inherently at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with chaos. In some aspects, the more orderly and static something is, the more it tends to be lacking in vitality.

    Most people are not sociopaths, thus their behavior is influenced by how everyone else is acting or expecting them to act. But order and creativity are often mutually exclusive. Either a person could do it the traditional way and what everyone else is doing, or he can deviate from the norm..

  7. says

    I don’t think the word discipline accurately describes the phenomenon here. Rather it seems more like learning how to function within an orderly system. Orderly systems are inherently at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with chaos. In some aspects, the more orderly and static something is, the more it tends to be lacking in vitality.

    Most people are not sociopaths, thus their behavior is influenced by how everyone else is acting or expecting them to act. But order and creativity are often mutually exclusive. Either a person could do it the traditional way and what everyone else is doing, or he can deviate from the norm.

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