In a recent article in the Atlantic, and in his book Originals, award winning educator and bestselling author Adam Grant describes how we can raise “ original thinkers”.
He says, “Too much structure, order, and discipline can constrain creativity, but so can too little. In a classroom with extensive constraints, kids don’t learn to think for themselves. Give kids all the freedom in the world, and they can get caught in choice paralysis, lack frameworks for figuring out how to approach a problem, or develop plenty of novel ideas but fail to implement them. I think balance comes in alternating different pedagogical approaches. Lecture for 10 minutes, then let kids develop their own way of teaching the lesson learned and present it in small groups”
When I read this it struck me that these words could have come right out of one of Maria Montessori’s books. Montessori’s concept of freedom is frequently misunderstood and sometimes misapplied. Montessori believed strongly in a balance between freedom and structure – or more precisely she believed in freedom within structure.