Montessori Theory of Learning
The Montessori Method of learning was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, a medical doctor from Italy, who was very keen to help mentally ill and retarded children learn better. Dr. Montessori had a firm conviction that children had the innate ability to teach themselves. As a result, she developed the Montessori Method of learning. Her methodology of teaching was unique, effective and efficient. Dr. Montessori emphasized that too much intervention by adults did not help children to learn (Qais, 2009).
According to Dr. Maria Montessori, each learner is a unique being, and he can surprise us with his unique potentialities. Hence instructors must give learners freedom to allow the full development of their potentialities. In the Montessori approach, the sensory-based teaching methodology is used. The Montessori Method of teaching concentrates on the quality of learning rather than the quantity. For instance, when children get to choose what they want to read, the process of reading becomes not only educational but also an enjoyment. In other words, a holistic approach is adopted in every step of learning
The learner is considered individual and must not be guided and controlled all the time by an adult. “Scientific observation has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment. The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity, spread over a specially prepared environment, and then refraining from obtrusive interference. Human teachers can only help the great work that is being done, as servants help the master. Doing so, they will be witnesses to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New Man who will not be a victim of events, but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society” (Maria, 1952)
In Montessori learning, there is a sense of direction rather than forcing children to learn. Effective learning occurs when the learner’s senses are heightened. Research (Laird, 1985) has shown that 75 % of learning occurs visually, while 13% occurs through hearing and touching. Smell and taste account for 12 %. If multi-senses are stimulated, more learning takes place. The sensory learning program is an innovative approach to enhance learning. It unites three modalities (visual, auditory and vestibular) into one intervention, allowing individuals to merge sensory messages for the desired learning outcomes. All of us learn differently. We have certain values attached to our own learning styles.