Friday, June 24, 2011

Prove it! - Dr. Stephen Hughes Part 1

There is so much to say about this Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology turned mega Montessori advocate that I needed to make it a multi-part series.  Although it comes as no surprise after years in a Montessori classroom that a pediatric neuropsychologist has become a champion of the Montessori method, it certainly is reassuring to have Dr. Stephen Hughes on board.  His website is a fantastic resource (it's about Montessori kids and it's called 'goodatdoingthings'!) and his talks are required listening for Montessorians. 

In this first introduction I wanted to highlight his insistence on making the value behind a Montessori education more evident to education scholars and parents.  For far too long, Montessori education has held on to a sort of niche status and niche audience and it is time for the offer to become more widespread.  Dr. Hughes calls upon Montessori schools to prove it in a variety of ways.  Keeping alumni records is crucially important (the Montessori Mafia after all, is no fluke), portfolios are key (we use, and some kind of standardized testing that does not involve preparing the students for the actual test can be helpful in making worthwhile comparisons. 

Montessori philosophy and curriculum often focuses on the internal and implicit.  We know that the drive to learn, explore and achieve is inside every one of our students.  Dr. Stephen Hughes highlights that this classroom (teacher) habit has to change when communicating with the outside world about Montessori education.  Our schools need to work at making our incredible achievements explicit, obvious and statistically significant.

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