My children attend a Montessori school (as did I when I was a child), and I have visited several other Montessori schools and spoken with their teachers. Numerous times I've had Montessori teachers tell me that they never liked or understood mathematics until they learned to teach with the Montessori math materials, at which point they had an epiphany and it all started to make sense.

This makes me wonder: could Montessori materials make a difference in the mathematical understanding of other high school or college students, even those who aren't intending to become Montessori teachers? Specifically, could they help to reach other students who similarly "never liked or understood mathematics"? Has anyone ever tried this?

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    $\begingroup$ I wondered this some years ago when my kids first entered Montessori, and while I don't have an answer to your question, I do wonder how much student-directed time is a larger player in how kids there learn than the particular materials. Montessori guides typically give a lesson and get to spend lots of time one-on-one or small group discussions. I suspect that is a contributing factor. $\endgroup$
    – Nick C
    Feb 24, 2022 at 18:29
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    $\begingroup$ @NickC The child-directed nature of Montessori is certainly one of its advantages, but that doesn't seem likely to be part of the effect that Montessori teachers noticed on their own understanding. $\endgroup$ Feb 24, 2022 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know enough about Montessori materials to answer this. You are welcome to answer your own question. Or ... it would be great if you could add some examples. $\endgroup$
    – Sue VanHattum
    Feb 24, 2022 at 18:55
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    $\begingroup$ The question is whether anyone has tried using Montessori materials to help high school or college students who struggle with math. I haven't, and I don't know of anyone who has, so I can't answer the question myself or provide any examples. $\endgroup$ Feb 24, 2022 at 20:25
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    $\begingroup$ @NickC Ah, I see. I guess I was unclear -- what the teachers told me (or, at least, what I understood from what they said) was that it was learning to teach with the Montessori materials, during their teacher training, that helped them, not the later experience of actually teaching children that way. $\endgroup$ Feb 24, 2022 at 21:15


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