Philosophy Essay Montessori

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Maria Montessori, the first Italian woman to qualify as a physician, is renowned worldwide for her devotion to the philosophy of education and for the educational method that bears her name. Amongst others ground-breaking innovations, Montessori had a unique approach to discipline and obedience in the education of children. In this essay I will define and explain the terms ‘discipline’ and ‘obedience’, paying particular attention to the relationship between them. I will then address the issue of self-discipline together with the notion of will and analyse how they are at the root of the development of obedience. Finally, I will describe the three levels of obedience as outlined by Maria Montessori herself.

First of all, it is necessary to explain and define the two major concepts of this essay: discipline and obedience. To use Montessori’s words (1967, p49):
The discipline that we are looking for is active. We do not believe that one is disciplined only when he’s artificially made as silent as mute and as motionless as a paralytic. Such a one is not disciplined but annihilated. We claim that an individual is disciplined when he’s the master of himself and he can, as a consequence, control himself when he must follow a rule of life.’
According to Montessori, the discipline that is worth working for is the one that is fostered through freedom and independence; it is an internal discipline that is already naturally within the child, just waiting to be awakened by the practitioner. Montessori believes that discipline begins when children find an activity that has some value to them. For this reason, Montessori introduced the idea of ‘prepared environment’, an environment which allows children to have freedom, opportunities and all the tools needed to develop concentration skills and to foster inner discipline. The Montessori method suggests surrounding the child with interesting tools and materials tailored to his/her inner needs, therefore leaving the child free

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