There are differences between traditional education and Montessori education. One of them is dominating at our schools and also made their way heavily into online learning. Online learning is more and more content-focused — losing their learners along the way. The Montessori approach has a lot to offer for how we teach our children. But maybe it is also the secret to improve online learning and self-learning.
Instead of a top-down education where the educator tells the student what to learn, the Montessori method embraces a more free and flexible style of learning. In the Montessori method, the educator changes and adjusts the student’s environment with respect to the student’s interests and skills. The student can then freely and flexibly choose what to learn and what to work on. They naturally take on responsibility for their learning.
Maybe we can use the same approach for self-learning. If we want to learn a new skill, for example with an online course, don’t try to follow the materials rigorously like in a top-down education style — where the materials are at the top and you are at the bottom. Instead, let’s try to make it more free and flexible. I know, the educator for adjusting the environment is missing during self-learning and the online curriculum is fixed. Online learning is mainly content-focused and the content is tried to be drilled down to us. But maybe we can take on the educator’s responsibility a bit.
Instead of following a rigorous online curriculum like in a top-down education, reflect on what you are learning, how you are learning, where you have difficulties, and what sparks your curiosity.
Allow yourself to skip materials if unnecessary. Allow yourself to look for new material for deeper understanding. Allow yourself to repeat the same thing if necessary. Allow yourself to adjust directions if your curiosity directs you somewhere else.
Let’s take on responsibility and become self-improving learners with a Montessori mindset.