Describe what Montessori meant by “New Education”
Education is seen as society’s key to progress. Education has raised poor families out of poverty. Rising rate of literacy and higher level of education of people has steered many a nation to greater economical and technological advancement.
However, although humanity has no doubt made tremendous intellectual progress, Dr. Montessori expressed that human beings could neither find solutions for peace and harmony nor prevent sufferings due to social evils like cruelty, poverty and oppressions. She said human beings have a weakness of character that makes them become slaves to circumstances. “Men are not yet ready to shape their own destinies to control and direct world events of which-instead-they become the victims” (Absorbent Mind Chap. 1 Pg3). She said they rested their hopes on education as one of their ways to raise mankind, but the prevailing educational system could not find solutions to the many problems of the world.
As such, Dr. Montessori felt that there was a dire need for new education. She said the prevailing educational system did not pay sufficient attention to the child. She believed that focusing on the child would be the key to a better class of society that would be able to find the means to a peaceful and progressive world. She stressed the need to focus on the individual’s total development which begins at birth. “The greatness of human personality begins at birth” (Absorbent Mind, Chap 1 Pg4). She urged that, similar to how adult’s economic contributions, his work and his many values have been duly recognized and accorded his rights, we should provide the same recognition to the child as he too is a toiler and the aim of his work is to construct an adult. “….. it is the child who makes the man and no man exists who was not made
by the child who he once was …… it is the baby who produces the man(Absorbent Mind Chap1 Pg15-16). Therefore society must heed the child and provide for his needs. Excluding the child from the mainstream society would be a wastage of human potentiality. “The period of infancy is undoubtedly the richest. It should be utilized by education in every possible and conceivable way. The waste of this period of life can never be compensated”- Carrel ( Absorbent Mind, Chap 1, Pg 5).
It is during the early years said Dr. Montessori that an astounding phenomenon takes place, that is the creation of human psyche and the development of human behavior. She said impressions do not merely enter the child’s mind, they form the mind……. The fruits of the child’s labor are not just material things, but he is fashioning humanity itself……. (Absorbent Mind, Chap 2 Pg 19).
It was her opinion that conflicts and social problems like crimes and cruelty originated from lack of self-fulfillment of man………. serious psychic disturbances in adults and their difficulties in adjusting themselves to the world in which they live have their origin in childhood……(The secret of childhood Chap1 Pg 11). Therefore, if children’s growth is given scientific care and attention, they would grow up into well-balanced adults with better human qualities who can bring about peace.
However besides providing the best care and protecting the rights of the children, she said that it is imperative that parents and educators change their attitude towards the needs of children. “……. If he is to be saved from the conflicts that endanger his psyche life, a radical change and one upon which everything else will depend must first be made: and this change must be made
in the adult (Secret of childhood Chap2 Pg15). She urged that there was much to be known about the child but parents do not understand the child or adolescent, As a result they are in a continual conflict with them. “The adult must find within himself the still unknown error that prevents him from seeing the child as he is.”(The Secret of Childhood, Chap 2, Pg 15).
Due to their prejudices about...
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