Historically, there are at least two main approaches to evaluation. The first, and most widely adopted method, is primarily based on tests, homework, and flashcards. These techniques are designed to provide feedback once a teacher, parent, or caregiver has had a chance to calculate, examine, and share the results. The adult plays a crucial role in this process, as they serve to administer and evaluate both the questions and answers. The child, however, is largely passive in the process, patiently awaiting criticism or praise.
Evaluation in Montessori
The second approach operates under an entirely different set of assumptions. Basically, it fosters, encourages, and supports “self-evaluation.”
In this model, the student is tasked with being able to identify their own strengths, weaknesses, and, ultimately, highlight areas in which they wish to improve. Needless to say, this happens under a certain set of conditions, but the essential idea is this: children learn to challenge themselves. Feedback, in this case, is positive and instantaneous.
In our estimations, one of the many reasons that the iPhone and iPad are so effective in employing the method of self-evaluation, is that they essentially remove “human judgement” from the equation.
While they might usurp the role of the teacher, this does not mean that they replace their necessity. As we’ve written elsewhere, nothing can replace the sense of curiosity that someone else can inspire. However, by utilizing this method, on these devices, at this point in time, it helps take us one step closer to being able to think for ourselves.
We spend all our time trying to prove to others what we only need to prove to ourselves.
Angela Leinen, project lead at Montessorium, writes about her mother’s tricks for incorporating a second language at home.