Facts and Questions

Teacher’s role in the classroom is passive and designed to guide individual learning when asked and when a child is ready; the child is the active participantTeacher’s role is dominant, assuming the active role in leading a class; the child is the passive participant in learning
Self-discipline is encouraged both through the method of teaching and the environmentExternal discipline is enforced by teacher (and principal)
Instruction adapts to each individual’s learning style in both group and individual settingsInstruction conforms to standardized curriculum with less room for flexibility
Mixed-age classroomsSame-age classrooms
Children are encouraged to collaborate, assist one another, and teach each otherChildren are primarily taught by teachers with less time for collaboration
Children select their own work dictated by individual interest and skill levelChildren are taught a prescribed curriculum for the whole classroom, regardless of interest or skill level
Children forumlate their own answers from self-teaching materialsChildren are guided to answers by teacher
Children set their own individual pace to absorb information presented to themChildren typically follow a pace set by the group average or the teacher
Children work as long as they desire with a selected materialChildren are typically given a specific time limit to achieve their work
Children learn to discover their own errors through exploration with the materialsChildren’s work is corrected with mistakes identified by teacher
Learning is achieved internally at child’s individual pace, by their continued interest, and their personal feelings of successLearning is reinforced by others through memorization, repetition, and external rewards or discouragement
Complete array of multi-sensory materials for explorationLess emphasis on intentional sensory exploration
Nurturing environment encourages children to work where they are comfortable working individually or in groupsChildren are typically assigned a space and are encouraged to remain still and listen during group instruction
Emphasis on practical life skills to learn how to care for self and the environment and to develop attention span, fine motor skills, and work ethicLess emphasis on caring for self and environment; this instruction left to parents

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