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Montessori Traditional
The learning process develops cognitive structures and social skills. The teaching process focuses on knowledge and social skills.
The child actively participates in the selection of what he will study. The teacher is a guide, but has an unobtrusive role in classroom activities. The teacher has a dominant role in most classroom activities. The child becomes a passive participant in learning.
Children choose their own work based on their own interests and abilities. The topics of study are based on the teacher's work plans and the child's interests are rarely considered.
The environment and methodology teach the child internal self-discipline and control of one's will. The responsibility of disciplinarian and enforcer of the rules is placed with the teacher.
Instruction is tailored to an individual child's learning style. Instruction style will be determined by the teacher's style.
A classroom will contain children of different ages (e.g. 3 - 6 year olds in the Primary level classroom.) Typically children are grouped in classrooms by age.

Children are encouraged to teach and help each other and collaborate where appropriate. Competition between students is discouraged.

Most instruction is given solely by the teacher and collaboration is discouraged. Competition is offended fostered.
The child formulates intellectual concepts from the self-teaching, self-correcting materials offered in the classroom. The child determines the pace of learning on a specific concept. The teacher guides the child to the prescribed concepts at a predetermined pace.
The child is given the freedom to work on a specific task or project for as long as they see fit. A child is usually given a specific time frame in which to complete a task.
The materials in a classroom are designed to provide the child feedback, which allows them to correct their own work. When work needs to be corrected, the teacher usually has to find and point out the errors to the child.
Reinforcement of learning is achieved through the child's own repetition of the work and their internal feeling of accomplishment. Reinforcement of learning comes through external measures such as rote repetition and rewards/discouragements.
The classroom if filled with multi-sensory materials in all subject areas. The physical exploration of classroom materials is encouraged, providing for sensory development and concrete learning experiences. Very few materials offered in the class are designed for physical manipulation.
The independence of the child is emphasized and taught by offering an organized practical life program to teach self-care and care of the environment (e.g. washing windows, cleaning tables, sweeping floors, preparing snack.) Much less emphasis is placed on self-care and the teacher is the primary maintainer of the classroom environment.
The child is free to move around the class at will as long as she does not disrupt the work of others. Group work is usually optional or negotiable. The child is required to sit still in his assigned seat and listen during the group's lessons.

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