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traditional school

Montessori Extras Parenting Teaching

Which school model is best for your child? Traditional or Alternative

By Anitra

 

Keeping with the theme about the various learning styles of how children learn and the multiple intelligences, I find it only fitting to now discuss school choices.  I thought that it would be good to discuss and compare the two educational models.  My hopes in comparing and laying out the differences in the models would be that parents have enough information to make an informed decision on choosing what type of school is right for their child (ren).  Although I am a Montessori trained professional, I support any and all educational settings that have the best interest of the child and their needs as their objective.

 

 

Last week, I posted about the different learning styles and intelligences on how children learn. According to psychologist Gardner, there are eight different learning styles.  In case you missed it, you can read it here.  Like I stated before, it is important to find out what type of learner your child is so that you can decide which type of school environment fits their learning style the best.  There are two main educational models to choose from when selecting a school for your child.

 

I will break down and compare both educational paradigms so that you have a clear understanding of each type, and can make an informed decision when selecting a school for your child.  This comparison is helpful when selecting a preschool, elementary school, middle school or high school.  There are many choices that have become popular over the last ten years, and the different types of educational environments either supports one of the two models I will discuss or a sort of combination of the two.  Each type has very distinct characteristics that set it apart from the other.

When I was younger there was one choice; public school.  Many of the alternative schools that exist and that are popular today weren’t an option or even a possibility.  Now, parents have the choice to choose the educational environment that they feel is best for their child.

 

Comparison of two educational models

 

Traditional Model:

Founded on the theory of Behaviorism

Example: Public school education                                                               

1. The student is viewed as the passive recipient of the transmission of knowledge.  The learning environment is teacher centered and directed

2. A product oriented, linear curriculum: building block type of model; in which a foundation of information is built upon. Once information is presented, it is rarely revisited.

 

 

Focuses on:   

*group orientation and instruction

*students are taken through a predetermined curriculum

*information is disseminated through lecture, reading of textbooks, rote memorization of abstract facts, testing the facts in a standardized manner, and evaluation is through a system of grading.

*subjects are offered as separate disciplines

*chronological grouping of students

 

Fosters:    

*knowledge of basic skills: recall of facts and surface information, mechanical use of abstract operations

*a perspective of heteronomy: refers to action that is influenced by forces outside the individual

*an external locus of control

*dependence upon the authority figure

*convergent thinking (finding a single best solution to a problem)

*competitive organizational structure based on mutual respect

 

Alternative Model:

Founded on the theory of Constructivism

Example: Montessori Education

1. The student is viewed as an active participant in constructing knowledge.  The learning environment is child led and directed.

2. A process oriented, non-linear curriculum: spiral type of model; in which knowledge areas are visited and revisited at higher and higher levels of difficulty and complexity.

 

Focuses on:

*individualized orientation and instruction

*the curriculum is developed to meet the needs of the students

*information is disseminated through demonstration, hand-on use of concrete materials, shared inquiry, child/teacher collaboration, portfolio assessment, and descriptive evaluation.

*subjects are offered as integrated disciplines

*multi-aged grouping of students

 

 

 Fosters:

*an understanding of the process underlying learning, knowledge of basic skills: functional application, ability to access information,

problem solving, and critical thinking skills

*a perspective of autonomy: refers to action that is not influenced by forces outside the individual

*an internal locus of control

*independence and self-responsibility

*divergent thinking (finding a variety of possible solutions to a problem)

*cooperative organizational structure based on mutual respect

 

 

 

It is important to take many factors into consideration when selecting a school environment for your child.  Their individual learning style, the philosophy of the school, the academic structure of the school and compatibility with your personal learning goals for your child should all be considered.

As stated above, an example of the traditional model is public school education and an example of the alternative model is Montessori education or other academic/philosophical based schools.  An example of a mixture of the traditional and alternative models is a charter school.  Many charter school offer a blend of sit down classes as well as home school or independent study.  There are so many choices to choose from, and it is important that each parent and family to research and determine what is the right fit for their child(ren) and family.

 

Anitra