Comparison Chart

Montessori “Traditional”
The method respects individual differences Emphasis is on conforming to the group
The learning process is student-centered and emphasizes self-motivation Emphasis is on grades, punishments or rewards as motivating factors
Multi-age grouping is practiced so that students may learn “horizontally” from observation of other people’s work, directly or indirectly Students are grouped chronologically to suit teachers’ pre-planned class lessons
Students learn at their own pace, free to complete a project or pursue a subject as deeply as they wish, according to personal enthusiasm Subjects are taught in lecture form and students must change classes and attend lessons all at the same time
Students learn by practicing their subject matter while in school, under the supervision and assistance of their teacher Students must practice on their own and be graded on work they have done at home without benefit of close monitoring
The classroom is used as a library or resource room for studying and completing projects: students are free to move as needed and are active participants in building their own knowledge Students work at desks, passively listening to lecture for directions and instructions. Passive learning is more tiring and the school work day has to be divided into periods with planned interruptions
Students avail themselves of concrete materials, scientifically designed to enhance conceptual thinking. The materials are graded by difficulty and adapt to the maturity of individual students. These tools bring about knowledge based on experience Learning takes place primarily through memorization and repetition of abstract concept. Group learning impedes the implementation of multi-sensory and experiential approaches to learning
Testing is built into the Montessori method as the third period of the “three-period lesson” and is a teaching technique that is applied routinely on an individual bases. The purpose of all testing here is to allow self-correction, repetition and achieve competence at one’s own pace Scheduled testing does not take into consideration the preparation of each individual student. It assumes that all student learn at the same rate. Tests are not designed as teaching tools, but rather as rewarding or punitive methods. The pass or fail grades simple reflect if a student has conformed or not to class standards