The Montessori Method: A Rhetorical Analysis
Maria Montessori graduated in 1894 from the University of Rome’s medical school, becoming Italy’s first female doctor. This was a feat that reinforced Montessori’s commitment to women’s rights. Living in the 20th century, Montessori noticed society’s use of science as an approach to improving education. She believed these strategies were scientifically irrelevant to the teaching of students. In her writing “The Montessori Method”, Maria Montessori effectively convinces her reader that to be an effective educator, a teacher must learn how to educate the child from the child himself. Montessori makes good use of analogies and rhetorical appeals to back up her argument. She emphasizes the freedom of the student and rejects the scientific approach to learning.
Montessori uses ethos appeal at the beginning of her argument by referencing Jean Jacques Rousseau and his view of liberty (576). This is an effective use of ethos because while it gives Montessori credibility as a writer, it also sets up the reader for her sub-claim that “It is a conquest of liberty which the school needs, not the mechanism of a bench” (Montessori 579). She incorporates Rousseau’s ideas of liberty with “social liberty” in the classroom. This supports her main argument of “studying the pupil before educating him” because you can’t sit a child down, immobile, in a desk and feed him or her dry, pointless facts and expect them Welch 2
to become educated. You must allow the child freedom in the classroom, analyze the way the child pursues his own learning, and incorporate his methods into your teaching of the child. This is much more effective because it creates interest in the child to learn rather than provoking them to. She also uses the word “slave” basically to describe the way the child is forced to learn. This comparison is especially effective when considering Montessori’s audience. No parent would want to put their child...
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