Montessori Relies on Hands-On Instruction
At the heart of the Montessori philosophy is the belief that children learn by touching, manipulating objects, and “doing.” Hands-on learning is one of the concepts people commonly associate with the Montessori approach, and it is a non-negotiable component of the philosophy.
So, how does tactile learning fit into a distance learning environment? This may very well be the biggest obstacle to adapting Montessori to an online environment, at least at first glance.
It’s a misconception that online instruction can’t facilitate this type of learning, though. When you think of online instruction, you may envision a student staring at a computer screen while passively taking in instruction.
In this way, online learning may resemble some of the ineffective teaching methods often observed in lecture-style classroom environments. This is the opposite of what one would expect to see happening in a Montessori environment.
Thanks to advancements in educational technology (and really, just technology in general), online learning doesn’t have to be a passive experience, however, nor should it be. To the contrary, children in virtual learning environments can participate in many of the same hands-on activities as they would in a more traditional classroom setting.
Plus, with a little creative nudge from teachers, students may be able to take active learning to an entirely different level using distance education technology.
Montessori Requires Trained Instructors
To be effective, the Montessori method should be applied by trained professionals. Traditionally, this means that children are taught alongside teachers (or parents) who have undergone professional training in Montessori education.
Many critics of online Montessori instruction worry that children simply won’t thrive unless they’re within physical proximity of a qualified Montessori teacher.
While this is a valid concern, it is an obstacle that can be overcome. Meaningful online Montessori instruction necessitates that trained Montessori professionals provide assistance to parents as they help children navigate the online learning experience.
In essence, parents become liaisons between teachers and children and act as guides and facilitators as their children practice new concepts.
In order for distance education to work within a Montessori environment, teachers must also provide parents with resources and strategies as they help their kids master new learning.