ERIC Number: EJ742441
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Count: 11
The Egg Man and the Empress
Smith, Dennis R.
Montessori Life: A Publication of the American Montessori Society, v17 n3 p50-54 Sum 2005
In this article, the author compares the legacies of two remarkable educators--John Dewey and Maria Montessori. These include changes in education now so commonplace that is accepted as traditional. Both Montessori and Dewey lived long enough to see their ideas receive worldwide recognition and acceptance, along with a share of misunderstanding and rejection. Over 50 years after their death, both are enjoying renewed popularity. The differences in their thought lie in the philosophical and educational thinking which are reflected in their different milieus. Dewey was a thorough American secular Democrat with egalitarian values and ideals while Montessori reflected the class consciousness and noblesse-oblige of Italian Catholic society. However, both of them share a primacy in the idea of the role of "the hand" in education. For Dewey, it represents the importance of always trying initial learning to hands-on experience. Similarly, Montessori believed that all learning should start with concrete hands-on experience and progress to abstraction. Both Montessori and Dewey recognized the value and importance of manual labor. Also, the role of memorization in education receives an equal lack of plaudits from both Montessori and Dewey. The former clearly separated memorization from abstraction. She considered it more as a necessary means to other ends, without much inherent interest. While the steps to abstraction gave form to the Montessori curriculum, the process of problem solving was essential to Dewey's "projects education." Memorization and recitation only took meaning as a helpful part of this process.
Descriptors: Educational Theories, Teaching Methods, Educational History, Educational Philosophy, Montessori Method, Educational Change, Democratic Values, Social Class, Experiential Learning, Teaching Methods, Thinking Skills
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A