Smart is not defined by your grades in school

I was watching a video today…the ones that are hand-drawn describing whatever the speaker says. I love those! I feel like it’s such a great visual along with the interesting thing the person is describing.

This one was about Montessori schools vs public schools and how they teach children. The general premise, from what I gather, is that students are taught to be self-led, working together as a team, critical thinking and encouraged to pursue what interests them on whatever they’re doing.  I am a teacher, so I have heard about Montessori and have even taught in a few Montessori classrooms over the years. I haven’t been there enough to notice the consistent difference, but I will say that I did notice that Montessori students are generally much more self-sufficient and creative.

I think the minds of children are so open, creative, and expanded far past what us adults have going on. While we may develop the logic, which has its benefits, we often lack the “thinking outside of the box”. Students in Montessori are nurtured to follow their creativity and wonder.

Another tenet of Montessori is that there is no homework, no grades and no tests, per se. I think that is generally great because there are many intelligent, thoughtful students out there who are nervous when it comes to testing. Also, paper/pencil testing is very much one way of doing things.

As a teacher, I’ve seen many students who don’t conform to the one-way of learning that seems to be most classrooms nowadays. When they don’t succeed in this environment, then they think that they are stupid.

I disagree though. I know various people who dropped out of school, that are highly intelligent. Perhaps their forte is in other areas than memorizing history dates and regurgitating back on a multiple choice test.

My dad, for example, is very smart. His smart is hands on…manipulating things, figuring out how parts go together etc. He was a mechanic initially and then decided to do carpentry. He is very good at what he does. In conventional schooling, he dropped out in Grade 11. On the other hand, I know someone else who got straight As in university. But was not a good critical thinker. Often believed what they read on the internet without following up or checking (I think we are all guilty of that to a point!)

I feel like it is propagated in most societies that if you excel in this antiquated way to learn, then you are smart. And if you don’t? Then you are dumb. In Montessori classrooms, with the way they are run, it seems to support and uphold students of all different interests and abilities.

I hope that our education system has some major changes and that it expands to envelope and nurture students. I’d love to have the babies being born now feel excited to go to school, all through the years, and come out of Grade 12 with an idea of how to live in the world (knowing basic money management, investing, sexual education etc) and with an idea of what they want to explore in their lives. They are the leaders of tomorrow! xo



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