Montessori quote? Anyone help?


Rather than reading all her literature, I thought if I post here one of you well-read “Forumosans” might be able to tell me…

Many people say that Montessori said, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” Now, didn’t Confucius say that? And Montessori schools today use it as a slogan. Maybe Madam Montessori quoted him somewhere… has anyone seen these words in any of her literature? If you have one, I would love a reference, or confirmation that she never referred to this quote. Thanks!!

[quote]The Columbia World of Quotations. 1996.
NUMBER: 12274
QUOTATION: I hear and I forget;
I see and I remember;
I do and I understand.
ATTRIBUTION: Chinese Proverb.
This was inside my Calculus textbook in college. I think Maria Montessori said something like, “Shut up and sit down!”


Thanks for that reference, now I need to confirm whether or not Montessori ever referred to this proverb.

Don’t be too hard on Maria Montessori, she may have got a bit carried away with herself near the end there, but she did some very good work with the most deprived children in Rome in her time. And, Montessori herself gives many examples of how, in her “Children’s Houses”, she wanted children to be independent, moving freely and learning through their own activity: “…our aim is to discipline for activity, for work, for good; not for immobility, not for passivity, not for obedience” (Montessori Method, p. 93). She was actually pretty progressive in her time.

Too bad many “Montessori” schools today have interpreted the “method” as advocating silent work.

I took my duaghter to a montessori when we were trying to find a preschool for her. My daughter (as per usual) was wearing a fairy skirt and wings. Thankfully she hated the place as the teacher took me aside and said her school was not suited to flamboyant types!
My daughter loves dressing up, but also loves sitting and completing a task. I am really glad we got to see the teachers true colours before I enrolled her.
I think the montessori’s of today are far removed from what they were meant to be. I also think we can encourgae our children to be independent too early- if you support them they will get there themselves- without feeling pushed
But that isn’t what the thread is on so I will stop now


I agree with your observation about some Montessori schools. Regarding the idea of learning to be independent without being pushed, again, this was not Montessori’s intention for children. She gave examples of how teachers should observe children and help them discover things when they are ready, and her classrooms were designed to promote self-discovery. She taught life skills like tying shoelaces, or taking a bath, to children who had no role models to teach them. Montessori was appalled by the classrooms of the time, and designed the child-sized furniture and child-friendly environment we see in our preschools today.

As HH Dalai Lama said, “To study a text, we should take into account the circumstances, the situation, the time, the society and the community was originally written or a teaching taught.”

As an English historian wrote, when Montessori started her work, education was the “gloomiest chapter in Italian social history.” So, we could at least praise her for her lifelong efforts to change that.

Personally, I would probably not send my child to a montessori school today. But, I think her philosophies are well-worth reading, and there are many ideas in say “The Montessori Method” (available on-line) that many of us working with young children here would benefit from contemplating. And, the history of education is actually very interesting.

Anyway, I still need any ref. to that quote in my first post, can anyone help?