Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Teaching democracy and Montessori 

Joanne Jacobs quotes a parent who seems to have become frustrated by her children's school textbook adoption process, and offers this:
I now see the similarities between the argument that we cannot impose democracy on Iraq because Iraqis must discover democracy for themselves when they are ready, and the argument that we cannot teach children algorithms for addition and subtraction because children must discover their own algorithms that will make sense to them, when they are ready.
Is there a connection between constructivist and conservative worldviews? I'd suggest a good read of Maria Montessori. The commenters on Jacobs' site seem to think of constructivism as unstructured. My experience watching my daughter's Montessori education is that it's highly structured while permitting choices. Indeed, I'd call it "libertarian". Likewise, libertarianism in a democracy does not necessarily mean anarchy.