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ERIC Number: EJ975091
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1054-0040
Public Knowledge of Montessori Education
Murray, Angela
Montessori Life: A Publication of the American Montessori Society, v24 n1 p18-21 Spr 2012
The American public generally recognizes the name "Montessori" because so many schools across the country and around the world use the Montessori name. However, the Montessori community has long believed that misunderstandings abound. A recent dissertation study quantified Montessori awareness and identified misconceptions in particular for those aspects of Montessori education that are unique, relative to other educational settings. In order to gauge public understanding of Montessori education, an online survey was conducted with members of an Internet panel administered by a national research firm. The study included a demographically representative sample of 1,520 U.S. adult panel members, who answered questions regarding their understanding of Montessori education. Two members of the American Montessori Society's Research Committee and six Montessori teachers, including a combination of early childhood and elementary teachers with AMS and AMI credentials, reviewed the survey to identify any disagreements on correct answers for the Montessori knowledge questions. The survey was field-tested with six individuals, including parents and nonparents, both with and without Montessori experience, to identify any potential points of confusion. Results show that the public clearly lacks understanding of the Montessori perspective on extrinsic rewards, including such things as stickers, certificates, and even teacher praise. Since extrinsic rewards are common in other school settings, their absence in Montessori environments may seem peculiar unless people understand that Montessori philosophy is based on the idea that students develop intrinsic motivation when the learning activity itself, not an external incentive, is its own reward. The public recognizes that developing children's concentration abilities is a goal of Montessori education, but opportunities exist for helping people understand specific practices employed to achieve this goal (i.e., providing opportunities for long stretches of uninterrupted work time, allowing the child to determine the timing of changing activities). Better understanding of the reasons behind the unique structure of the schedule in a Montessori classroom will help people see that the differences from other educational environments are based on a comprehensive philosophy of child development. (Contains 3 figures and 1 table.)
American Montessori Society. 281 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010-6102. Tel: 212-358-1250; Fax: 212-358-1256; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A