Montessori Methodology in Language Training

EFL teacher, students with disabilities, Second Language, SLD, mixed classrooms, IRENE, 3Dlexia, Montessori

Country Studied: Greece, Italy, UK, Poland, Hungary, Romania

Area of Focus: Language, Reading, Spelling/ Writing, Multi-sensory

“Montessori Methodology in Language Training (MMLT)” is a project which was funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission (Key Activity 2: Languages) and was implemented in the period 2012 – 2014.

The project was aiming to convey the Montessori educational method to the language learning of adults over 20, which has been proven efficient and successful for children up to 16 years, deals effectively with the personalization of the educational methods and takes into consideration the learners’ impediments.

The idea
Language teachers often meet the same problems, above all with adults (or university students over 20), such as refusal to learn new languages and trainees’ early abandonment of their training course, often due to lack of time or by the idea that in adult age, language learning is much more difficult. This is mainly due to an obsolete approach to languages, often too standardized, without keeping in due consideration the adults’ psychological blocks and individual learning times.

What has been developed
The project has developed a manual for the conveying of the Montessori method to language learning for adults and university students. In this manual the Montessori method was adapted in order to fit the needs of language learning. The manual is available in Greek, Italian, English, Romanian, Hungarian and Polish. Based on this manual, the project has organized workshops and e-learning courses in order to train language teachers all over Europe to use the Montessori method when delivering their language courses. The training of the teachers included the practical implementation of the method in language learners.

The project has had a significant impact in many fields:

  • it has produced an innovative methodology for teaching languages to adults,
  • it has enriched trainers’ curriculum with a distinctive and modern updating,
  • it has facilitated trainers’ exchange of good practices,
  • it has put into use a common method and has enhanced trainees’ motivation in reaching their goal (learning a foreign language) more successfully.

The manual created by the project can be a learning tool for universities, adult language teachers and any educational organization/body involved in the learning of foreign languages in adults.

The Montessorian method has its own way of teaching and specific instructions are followed so that students do not become stressed and there will be an effect on learning a foreign language. A common feature of the Montessorian hall is that there must be an organisation between the things the professor places and the words he mentions. The time he/she also assigns students for certain activities is specific and proportional to the level of students, beginners or advanced.

The “Montessori Methodology in Language Training (MMLT)” project was implemented in the period 2012 – 2014.

One of the outputs of the project, the manual for the conveying of the Montessori method to language learning for adults and university students, can be used by training organizations, foreign language teachers, foreign language institutions, universities etc., as a teaching principle during foreign language lessons.

Also, the training course for the training of the adult language teachers on how to teach languages using the Montessori method can be used for the training of adult foreign language teachers, as it is available in an e-learning version.

Target Groups of the project were:

  1. Language Teachers
    Language teachers that are teaching adults or university students:

What they learned:

  • how to implement the Montessori method in language learning
  • how to organize the course on the basis of the individual characteristics of each learner
  • how to organize the assessment

2. Teacher Trainers
Professionals that are responsible for the training of teachers in new methodologies and updating of the teacher skills

3. Language Learners

4. Other organizations

  • language learning institutions,
  • universities,
  • European and local education organizations,
  • public authorities,
  • educational decision makers,
  • language experts,
  • NGOs that teach languages to immigrants or to volunteers or Erasmus students.

This best practice is supporting:

  • Adult Students/language learners,
  • University Students/language learners,
  • Adult language teachers,
  • Adult foreign language teachers,
  • Universities,
  • Educational organization/body involved in the learning of foreign languages in adults.

During the implementation of the project, evaluation and assessment activities took place:

The aims of those activities were to:

  • evaluate project’s relevance, efficiency and impact
  • measure progress throughout project
  • establish quality control indicators and processes
  • measure project’s results among participants

The activities which were implemented were the following:

  • Drafting of Quality Assurance Plan and Evaluation Plan
  • Drafting of Work Plan
  • Web based Management Tool
  • Appointment of External Evaluator
  • Definition of Indicators for Evaluation
  • Collection of feedback sheets
  • Filling in of questionnaires and conducting of interviews

Drafting of formative, interim and final evaluation report

Main aim of the project was to:

  • define a method of modern language teaching, on the concept of the Montessori’s methodology
  • equip the language teachers with an innovative but also sound pedagogical method in order to develop their skills and equip them with new skills.

Main objectives of the project were to:

  • establish the Montessori method as a common European method for language learning
  • transfer the Montessori method in the field of language learning of adults and university students in order to promote the acquisition of key competencies throughout the education and training system.

The project has been accepted by other members of the European Community as an intuitive, practical and easy way for people of any age to understand and learn languages effortlessly.

  • It gives “freedom” to learner to choose the way he wants to learn
  • The teacher encourages the students, not by correcting them but observing them and intervening only when necessary.

Montessori Method and Learning Disabilities

“The fact that children with special needs often excel in a learning environment based on the Montessori method has generated a great deal of interest. Although the Montessori method is used with children who have a wide range of learning abilities, the developer of the method, Dr. Maria Montessori, worked with several groups of children with learning disabilities.

Perhaps one reason that the Montessori method has proven so successful among children with special needs is the pacing. Children are encouraged to move ahead at their own pace. They take up a new activity only when they are comfortable that they have learned enough from the previous activity. Another technique is highly supportive for children with learning disabilities is the degree of personal attention as students receive. Montessori teachers are not installed at the front room by the podium or imposing desk. Rather, they move throughout the room observing and assessing each individual child.”

The Montessori Methodology in Language Training which has been developed, has some very important characteristics:

  • It can be easily adapted,
  • It is very easy to implement during a training course,
  • It has been accepted by other members of the European Community as an intuitive, practical and easy way for people of any age to understand and learn languages effortlessly,
  • It addresses the needs of learners in different educational and training sectors,
  • It combines traditional face-to-face workshops with e-learning and ICT based learning.