Benefits of the Montessori System
As a daughter, a student, and an older sister, I have challenged others and been challenged myself. In each challenge I have received, three words have been present.
I feel a small stab in my heart every time I hear the phrase, “Do your best.” Can my best ever be good enough? Will I ever stop reaching for the next tier? Throughout my life, I have been labeled. I have been labeled by parents, teachers, doctors, and classmates. One of the greatest labels imposed on me has been my grades. Within the modern education system, students with lower grades are ignored, falling to a circle of anonymity, and the unknown depths of high school. These students have been shown to be more likely to become involved with drugs, alcohol, and unwanted pregnancy (Crosnoe).
According to Robert Crosnoe, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, this tendency is attributed to “neglect from educators and parental figures.” Rather than assist failing students, teachers push those with higher grades to excel. Comparatively, academically advanced students are confronted with extreme pressure. Once a trend of high marks has been established, the cycle cannot be broken for fear of others’ dissatisfaction. This leaves a question that must be addressed by educators, parents, and students: Is categorizing students right? Does grading provide a positive contribution to education? The philosophy of our current education system states that “grading motivates students, encourages learning, and results in positive outcomes.
” Without it, students neglect their studies, “slack off,” and gain less overall knowledge. (Phillips, D.C. and Siegel, Harvey). This is far from true and exposes an even greater flaw in our education system: This system is one of fear. The underlying motive for students to study is fear of low grades, disappointment, or failure.
Because grades are the primary criteria for passing courses, students do not study; they develop methods of cheating. Without learning the material, they continue to pass classes without knowing the necessary information. As grades are prioritized above understanding the subject matter, students simply memorize how specific problems are solved to pass their courses. Without knowing why such a method is used, students cannot apply their problem-solving abilities to daily life. However, they can still pass their exams, therefore allowing them satisfaction from both parents and educators.
Apart from these faults, which can be resolved by optimizing and improving the grading system, the greatest defect of the system cannot be repaired without fundamentally altering the basis of the program. The grading system causes inequalities, superior-inferior relations, classifications and conflicts. It may be maintained that societies of the modern world are structured on these basic principles, but we are still children. Applying standards of adulthood to high school students does not create an age-appropriate learning model. The existence of these gauges in workplaces, government systems, and between adults does not justify their practice in school settings. Grades can be detrimental to a child’s self-esteem, peer group, and ability to connect with others.
Childhood education is one of the greatest influences on one’s life. If we bring up our children in conditions of categorization, stress, and competition, they will strive for success in the future. Whether or not it be accomplished ethically, the fear of failure we instill upcoming generations will teach our children to fear disappointment. When applied correctly, disappointment within itself can become a motivator. By implementing an education system whose foundation is built upon fear, we risk letting our children slip through the cracks of extreme pressure, grade-based placement, and intense aversions to failure.