Dec 30 2011

REBROADCAST: Holiday Education Special Part 3: Steven Hughes on Montessori Education

Feature Stories | Published 30 Dec 2011, 8:00 am | Comments Off on REBROADCAST: Holiday Education Special Part 3: Steven Hughes on Montessori Education -

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This show is a rebroadcast.

On Monday we heard the story of Sarah Sentilles, author of “Taught by America: A Story of Struggle and Hope in Compton.” On Tuesday, part 2 of our three-part education special was a conversation with Jonathan Kozol on his book The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. Today, as part 3 of our holiday education special, we spend the hour with Dr. Steven Hughes, an assistant professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and President-Elect of the American Board of Pediatric Neuropsychology. Dr. Hughes is an advocate of what’s called the Montessori method of education, created over a hundred years ago by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. In the early 1900s, Montessori was asked to develop a curriculum for poor and homeless children in Rome, labeled as “deficient and insane.” Through careful observation of how children behave and learn new skills, she was able to create an environment for learning that enabled the children to pass Italy’s public school curriculum. Considered to be well ahead of her time, many of Montessori’s conclusions about how children learn have been borne out by the latest scientific advances in children’s neuropsychology. A study of the Montessori approach in 2006 published in the journal Science found that children educated in this method fared much better than those educated in traditional schools: “[C]hildren at a public inner city Montessori school had superior outcomes relative to a sample of Montessori applicants who, because of a random lottery, attended other schools. By the end of kindergarten, the Montessori children performed better on standardized tests of reading and math, engaged in positive interaction on the playground more, and showed advanced social cognition and executive control more. They also showed more concern for fairness and justice. At the end of elementary school, Montessori children wrote more creative essays with more complex sentence structures, selected more positive responses to social dilemmas, and reported feeling more of a sense of community at their school.”

GUEST: Dr. Steven Hughes, an assistant professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and President-Elect of the American Board of Pediatric Neuropsychology

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