Essay on The Instrument Of Slavery For The Spirit

827 Words Oct 20th, 2015 4 Pages
Maria Montessori is a strong believer in and an advocate for freedom in the classroom. She found it of utmost importance to maintain and nourish each child’s unique aptitude towards learning. Her theory is that the teacher must study the child individually noting his or her talents and weaknesses before acting as a guide to their specific endeavors. She strongly denounced a dictatorship-style classroom. One point she makes that I find intriguing is that “prizes and punishments are . . . the instrument of slavery for the spirit.” I agree with Montessori about the negativity that the prize and punishment system ensues because it transforms the primitive motive from innocent intrigue to a competition of establishing and proving status which causes an unnecessary and unbeneficial separation between peers. The result of transforming education into a competition is that students are separated into groups and labeled based on their abilities and disabilities. For example, I used to play a game when I was in fourth grade that served as a study guide to a test that worked like this: Two students would stand in front of the classroom, listen for the teacher to ask a question, and try to write the answer faster than the other person on the whiteboard. Each time you beat your classmate in speed or knowledge counted as a point. The person with the most points was allowed to leave to recess early while the students who showed signs of struggle during this game were made to stay in from…

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