Submissions/The Montessori Method for Adult training - The freedom in learning

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom
Submission no. 3031
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Roberta Marsili – Roberta12260
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Lingua Più Associazione Culturale
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Why Montessori methodology works also for adult education? It could be useful to start reflecting on the founding principles of Montessorian pedagogy, which have determined the methodological choice to apply the Montessori Method to adult training. In her book The Child in the Family, Maria Montessori lists three maxims that should guide the educational action of every mother:

Observe all the reasonable activities of the child and try to understand them (Montessori,1950, p. 102).
Satisfy as much as possible the child’s desire to act: do not serve him, but educate him to become independent (ibid, p . 106).
Since the children are more susceptible than we think, we must be very cautious when dealing with them [ethically] (ibid, p . 109).

Although these maxims refer to children, we can easily adapt them to adult learners. How?

Applying the first maxim, Montessorian language teachers must respect the intelligence as well as the idiosyncrasies of their adult learners; thus, they must let the inner needs of their learners manifest themselves by offering them a non-linear, non-pre-established syllabus.
The second maxim is closely connected to the first one: educate the learner to become independent. Let learners freely invent solutions to their learning problems. This means admitting that knowledge is such only when it is the result of personal experience and of a sincere effort to know something that has excited one's curiosity or has awakened an inner need to comprehend.
Montessori's third maxim refers specifically to the ethical sensitivity of the child, and considers the moral and spiritual dimensions of each learner. This perception of the child's radical integrity, extended to adult learners, requires the language teacher to tell the truth about what learning a language means (and also what institutional impositions, if any, have to be dealt with). “What learning a language means” is an act of discovery.

* Education Outreach
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30 minutes
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