In spite of such a unique contribution to the field of child education, the Montessori Method also suffers from certain limitations. Firstly, she has neglected play activities of children, which are most valuable in a child’s education. Secondly she gives too much stress on Didactic Apparatus.
In fact, her entire method rests upon this apparatus. Exercises with this apparatus, as recommended by Montessori, are so limited that a child cannot express himself fully. Thirdly, she has neglected social factor in the education of children. She looks only to individual development.
This is the reason that in Montessori Method there is a little of music songs, dramas, dances and group activities, which are all so essential for social training. Lastly, her method is very costly. Teachers of the concept of Montessori are not available to majority of our schools, especially in villages. So this method is not suited to Indian conditions.
Special Role of the Teacher
In her system of education there are no teachers because they do not teach. They are simply directors because they direct and guide the movements of children.
They only provide the proper environment and material at the right moment and then observe auto-development of children. Thus, in Montessori system, the child is more active than the teacher. He learns by participating fully in the reading-learning processes.
Thus, the teacher has to play a different role altogether. “Instead of facility of speech, she has to acquire the power of silence, instead of teaching, she has to observe, and instead of the proud dignity of one who claims to be infallible, she assumes the venture of humanity” Montessori versus Froebel.
Both Montessori and Froebel have organized schemes of educating pre-school age children. Both of them consider education as the process of unfolding. Both lay stress self-expression and self-activity in an atmosphere of freedom, oath advocate play-way methods of imparting education. Both respect child’s individuality and have profound love for the child.
Both are in favor of sense-training for sharpening the intellect of children. Both recommend self-education on the part of the child, with his own efforts, while teacher should be in the background, to play the part of an observer and a guide.
Both are idealist thinkers. To Montessori, child was God, while Froebel wished education to lead and guide a man to unity with God.
However, there are also certain points of difference between these two educators. While Froebel’s theory is based on metaphysical, assumptions, Montessori’s method has a scientific background, and, therefore, her approach is based on practical considerations.
Secondly in the kindergarten, the children are taught in groups while in the Montessori, individual work and individualism is emphasized.
Thirdly, kindergarten, social training is one of the basic principles. It is imparted through movement, plays, action songs, group activities and cooperative occupations. Fourthly, Froebel advocates a good use of stories, fairy-tales, fables, songs, dramas and poetry for stimulating the imagination of pupils.
Montessori neglects altogether the training of imagination in her system. Fifthly, in Montessori system, writing, reading and arithmetic are provided, while there is nothing, of the sort in kindergarten.
Sixthly, in Montessori, sense training is provided through Didactic Apparatus while in kindergarten, it is given through gifts.
Seventhly, while in Montessori, daily life activities are given prominence, in kindergarten, manual activities like clay-modeling gardening, wood work, paper-cutting, etc. emphasized, eighthly, teacher in a kindergarten school is like a gardener, looking after tender plants. She is to guide children’s activities and may interfere when they go astray.
In a Montessori school, the teacher is simply to observe children, handling didactic apparatus. Lastly, kindergarten system can be introduced in any infant school without much difficulty as gifts can be got prepared locally according to needs. It can therefore be medium of mass education.
On the other hand, the Montessori Method cannot be applied in that Didactic Apparatus. Moreover, teachers with knowledge of experimental psychology and laboratory procedure are not available.