Adapted from Angeline Stoll Lillard’s “Montessori – The Science behind the Genius”

As a continuation from the previous newsletter, I offer more reasons as to why we are offering the Montessori method of pedagogy: following on from the 8 basic principles, I wish to review the fourth principle: “tying extrinsic rewards to an activity, like money for high results with tests, or reading, negatively impacts motivation to engage in that activity when such a reward is withdrawn”:
Such offers are apparently detrimental to concentration, and concentration is one of the most important things that we are trying to develop in a Montessori environment, and it is central to effective learning and education.  The rewards in Montessori education are internal ones.  Anyone will only ever be truly successful with internal, self-driven motivation, which will be sustained for a lifetime.  In our environment we are trying to develop this, and research supports the fact that already-loved activities, like learning, are best sustained when extrinsic rewards are not a part of the deal!
This principal is discussed at some length in Angeline Stoll Lillards “Montessori, The Science Behind the genius” .
Interestingly, I attended a talk at Pridwin Preparatory on Monday evening – presented by SAALED (SA Association for Learning and Educational Differences), and I mention this as the topic was remarkably similar:
It was presented by Dr Debbie Silver, and called “Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8: Teaching Kids To Succeed”. She has written several books to cover what can really be termed “resilience in children, and how to teach it”, and this is seemingly one of the major topics being covered in many states in the USA.  The theory is really not that dissimilar to Maria Montessori’s discoveries so many years ago: That it is the child’s effort that will ultimately determine the outcome, not other attributes.  In a nutshell, trying to do it for our children, or telling them they are the best, smartest, genius etc, is just silly, and most often very far from the truth!

Inappropriate praise can do more harm than good! I will be purchasing her book, as she was such a wonderful speaker (and a teacher of Science for over 20 years), so it will be in my office at some point, if anyone wished to take a peek!  Alternatively, take a look on Amazon and buy a copy for yourself!