Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius Updated Edition
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"A stimulating evaluation of Montessori philosophy and practice, exploring some of the basic principles in relation to modern scientific research. . . . In particular, anyone wanting to take a detailed and critical look at Montessori education would surely benefit from reading this book."-- Montessori International
"Angeline Lillard may have changed the rules of engagement for debates on educational reform."-- Dennis Schapiro, Editor, The Public Montessorian
"Dr. Angeline Stoll Lillard has clearly summarized the research that explains why, after 100 years, the Montessori approach to education continues to be a phenomenal worldwide success."-- Tim Seldin, President, The Montessori Foundation, and Chair, The International Montessori Council
"Lillard provides a visionary framework for those currently working to advance Montessori education and those committed to furthering school reform initiatives. This is an illuminating, thoughtful, and extremely important book. "-- Richard A. Ungerer, Executive Director, American Montessori Society
"This is a great book. It is beautifully written, and expertly uses the psychological research literature to evaluate Montessori theory and practice. What an original and important contribution."-- Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology, Stanford University and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
"Lillard has masterfully explored the basic tenets of Montessori education and how they are validated with todays scientific findings. The result is a long-awaited and important contribution that contrasts with traditional education and offers evidence in support of a method that works. A stunning achievement!"--Virginia McHugh Goodwin, Executive Director, Association Montessori Internationale, USA
About the Author
Angeline Stoll Lillard is Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. An authority on learning and development, she was awarded the Developmental Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association's Outstanding Dissertation Award in 1992 and its Boyd McCandless Award for Distinguished Early Career Contribution in 1999.
- Item Weight : 1.31 pounds
- Paperback : 404 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0195369366
- Product dimensions : 0.75 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
- Publisher : Oxford University Press; Updated edition (August 12, 2008)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #363,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Another important aspect of the book is where Lillard points out the need for more research to support various aspects of Montessori. She is also careful to note the qualifications or limiting conditions on many of the studies. These are important both because it points out paths for future researchers, but also demonstrating Lillard’s intellectual honesty. She is clearly a Montessori supporter, but she is not dogmatic about it.
A downside here is that Lillard is often critical of traditional, mainstream education, but too often in an overly general way. She paints it with too broad of a brush and so might be seen as unfairly dismissing traditional schools and teachers. This is a point reinforced by some of my students’ responses to the book. I assigned this for my graduate class in Philosophy of Education. For the most part, they liked it and found much of it valuable and eye-opening; but a few noted her easy dismissal of traditional education and felt it unfairly characterized their own experiences. If the book was: “Why Montessori is better than traditional schools” then this would be a significant failing. But Lillard is not writing this book to criticize mainstream education but to show how research supports Montessori. So the fact that she falls short in fairly dealing with traditional education is not damning for the overall quality and importance of this book.(less)
I may hold a biased view for Montessori learning. However, Montessori believed that the 'factory method' of schooling was outdated. Believing that children have blank slates for learning, she created learning techniques and environments that develop concentration, independent thought, motivation, curiosity, and self-discipline for life's choices. After reading this book, I'm in full agreement with her teaching methods.
Lilliard explains the history and theories behind Montessori education in-depth and with strength. She explains the importance of our relationships and environments within the classroom and our homes, and she explores the knee-jerk arguments against Montessori education. If you're working or raising children, you'll be way ahead of the game with this thorough and insightful book.
I wanted to explore the foundations of how I learn in life, and Lillard answers my questions. I'm not only more knowledgable about how I learn, but also I'm more aware how intelligence is developed and the possibilites of how our youth can learn in today's world.
Add to your building blocks of knowledge, and explore Montessori methods...This is a supreme read.
I don't have any particular expertise in the field of education, pedagogy or child development, but I spent a lot of time studying cognitive science, was involved in psychology research, and practically taught kids how to program (heck, I even read Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas from Papert long time ago!). I'm not a foreigner to Piaget and read from books from and on Vygotsky. But I heard about Montessori only about a few months ago (well, to be fair I must admit that Papert's book mentions Montessori, only in one page, in a single sentence and negatively). If Montessori method of education was something very new, or just a few years old, or even one or two decades old, I would not consider my situation very odd. Or if the method of Montessori was put to use only in a few schools in a few distant countries I would forgive myself for my ignorance. But to my surprise I learned that Montessori method is about 100 years old and put to test daily in many countries including many European ones as well as USA (some of the most famous names in my field turned out to be educated in Montessori schools: Larry Page and Sergei Brin (founders of Google), Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon.com), Will Wright (the inventor of "The Sims"); read "The Montessori Mafia" from The Wall Street Journal for more information).
I'm so much thankful to Dr. Lillard for presenting a highly readable yet scientific, evidence-based account of this wonderful method of education. I'm yet to witness a Montessori school in practice and I did not send my child to such a school, so maybe I should keep the skeptic inside me very alive. But if half of what Lillard describes is true then I'd say it'll be very difficult for me to choose any other type of education for our child. "Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius" answers almost all of the questions that a parent or a researcher can ask. And whenever there is a concrete answer you are provided with relevant results from scientific literature. If your question is still open to discussion, if there is no conclusive evidence then Lillard does not hesitate to state this, too. She also stresses a few points from Montessori methods which are almost proved to be false by scientific research (but these points are very few, Lillard shows that a very big part of Montessori method is supported by the evidence).
There are other books explaining or advocating Montessori method but I believe no book yet surpassed this book in terms of scientific rigor. Thanks to the comprehensive overview by Lillard, I can clearly see the problematic points of mainstream educational methods and how negatively they affect children. I can also easily see how Montessori method solves a lot of those problems without introducing them to begin with. Many times I found my self marking pages from the book, smiling to myself and thinking "yes, that's the way it should be!".
If you think your child, or any child is something more than an empty vessel waiting to be filled by "knowledge" by a teacher, if you ever said to yourself "if only they let me be engaged with whatever I was interested in so that I could learn much more and have fun", if you think that a human being's destiny is probably something more than trying to fit into stereotypes and find herself of a fine 9-to-5 job, if you ever thought that accomplishing something beautiful, overcoming a real challenge was a feat in itself and you did not any extrinsic motivation for it, your inner drive was the source of greatest pleasure... Well, then you owe yourself to read this book. This book may not change your life, or maybe you'll never have the option of sending your child to a Montessori school for this or that reason. But one thing for sure, this book will completely change the way you look at and think about educating children and preparing them for life. And every minute of it will be well spent.