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Jerome Kagan and Maria Montessori: Inhibited-ness and the Normalization of Children.

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Presentation on theme: "Jerome Kagan and Maria Montessori: Inhibited-ness and the Normalization of Children."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jerome Kagan and Maria Montessori: Inhibited-ness and the Normalization of Children

2 Biography: Jerome Kagan Born in New Jersey, 1929 Earned his Ph.D. at Yale in Psychology in 1954 Conducted biological research on child development in San Marcos, Guatemala during the 1960’s Taught at Harvard University Currently retired

3 Biography: Maria Montessori Born 31 st August 1870 in the town of Chiaravalle, Italy Family moved to Rome in 1875 Graduated from the University of Rome and became the first female doctor in 1896 She assisted at Santo Spirito Hospital in Rome where she worked primarily with the poor and children January 6th, 1907: Casa dei Bambini opens in Rome By 1908 there were 5 Casa dei Bambini’s: four in Rome, one in Milan In 1909 Dr. Montessori gave her first training course to 100 students and wrote The Montessori Method : Dr. Montessori traveled through America, the UK and part of Europe, giving lectures at Montessori societies and training programs Died May 6th, 1952

4 Temperament: stable behavioral and emotional reactions that appear early and are influenced in part by genetic constitution, (Galen’s Prophecy) Inhibited: a category of child who is initially fearful and avoidant in response to unfamiliar events because of an inherited temperamental bias; exhibiting shy, fearful, and/or timid behavior Uninhibited: a category of child who shows minimal uncertainty to the unfamiliar; exhibiting bold, sociable, and/or outgoing behavior. Normalization: the process of healthy development whereby children regularly and freely choose constructive activities based upon their interests, which then leads to their development of the capacity to concentrate. Key Terms

5 Purpose/Proposal The purpose of my study is to determine whether or not there is a correlation between Dr. Kagan’s study on temperaments and child development and Dr. Montessori’s method of normalization. More specifically, I hope to determine whether certain school environments are more conducive than others in balancing inhibited traits in children.

6 Questions Dr. Maria Montessori claims that when children are given the freedom to choose constructive activities based on their interests, the development of their ability to concentrate also grows. Will this more fully developed concentration foster a more mature sense of self-regulation or self-control in a child? That is, will this concentration enhance their ability to control negative traits due to temperamental biases? Is there less evidence of inhibited traits within Montessori schools versus more “traditional” schools? Is there a correlation between a balanced temperament and the ability to concentrate? According to Dr. Montessori’s observations, “children who can concentrate treat others kindly and work constructively with materials rather than choosing to distract classmates or abuse materials.” (Lillard) Will these traits be stronger in the Montessori students?

7 Hypothesis I believe that the children in the Montessori school, due to the normalization process, will on average possess a higher sense of self-control. They will also possess a higher ability to focus and concentrate on their work. Due to their higher attention span, I believe the Montessori students will be more constructive in their work, with less inclination to distract and be distracted by their fellow students.

8 Procedure/Observations Criteria Number of children Initial reactions smiles eye contact How long it takes them to get used to my presence? How do the children interact among each other? Do some initiate contact more than others? How talkative are the children? Do some approach the teacher more than others? Are some children more easily distracted from their work than others? If instructed or scolded or reprimanded by teacher, how do they react? Sensitively? Positively? Negatively? Is there a significant difference between the 4th graders and the 6th graders? Are the 6th graders on average less inhibited than the 5th graders?

9 Observations Montessori 1 Montessori 2 Holy Family Girls7127 Boys985 Approached Student 9142 Looked at me 773 Looked at me w/out smiling 123 Looked at me w/ smile 650 Distracted by students 3412 Distracted by others 1010 Initiated own work 1183 Asks teacher 117

10 Data

11 “Experience can slow down orspeed up that emergence by several months orseveral years, but nature will win in the end.” (Dr. Kagan)

12 “Children who can concentrate treat others kindly and work constructively with materials rather than choosing to distract classmates or abuse materials.” (Lillard)

13 Conclusion The students in the Montessori classroom showed less inhibited traits and were much more confident in their actions! They also showed a greater ability to concentrate on their work, being less distracted and distracting less of their fellow classmates than the students from Holy Family. The students in the Montessori classrooms were also friendlier to strangers, unlike the more avoidant students at Holy Family.

14 Modifications Also observe children from a younger age/grade and compare Use the observations to make predictions on potential behavior during activities and games Observe/research information on inhibited vs. uninhibited traits while at play with other students

15 Nature vs. Nurture NatureNurture Jerome Kagan: “ a child can change from being inhibited to uninhibited, even though such a change might be more difficult for a child whose behavioral inhibition rested, in part, on biological constitution Maria Montessori: Theory of sensitive periods; classrooms are designed to promote independent mastery

16 Bibliography Montessori, Maria. The Montessori Method. Trans. Anne Everett George. 2nd ed. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, Digital Library. 9 Sept Lillard, Angeline Stoll. Montessori: The Science behind the Genius. New York: Oxford Univ., Print. Crain, William C. "Montessori." Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications. 5th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, N. pag. Print. Kagan, Jerome, and Robert E. Klein. "Cross-Cultural Perspectives On Early Development." American Psychologist28.11 (1973): PsycINFO. Web. 18 Nov Kagan, Jerome. "The Emergence of Self-Awareness." Unstable Ideas: Temperament, Cognition and Self. Cambridge: Harvard UP, N. pag. Print. Kagan, Jerome. The Nature of the Child. New York: Basic, Print.


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