What makes the Montessori system different from Mainstream?

Traditional / Mainstream
Montessori
Teacher's role is dominant and student is a passive participant
While the teacher guides the learning process, the student is an active and primary participant
Group instruction that conforms to adult's teaching style
Individual and group instruction adapts to each student's learning style
Same age grouping
Mixed age grouping
Most teaching done by teacher and collaboration is discouraged
Children encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help one another
Emphasis on rote knowledge (inflexible)
Emphasis on cognitive structures
Teacher is primary enforcer of external discipline
Environment and method encourage internal self-discipline
Child is given concepts by teacher rather than by self-discovery
Child formulates concepts from self-teaching materials
Child sits in assigned seat, not allowed to move about classroom
Concentrated work time on a single subject
Instruction pace set by group norm or teacher Child sets own learning pace to internalize information
Errors corrected by teacher Child spots own errors through self-correcting materials
Learning reinforced externally by rewards, punishments Learning is reinforced through child's own repetition of activity, internal feelings of successful repetition
Few materials for sensory, concrete manipulation Large focus on Multi-sensory materials
Child is given specific time for work in one subject and then moved on to another subject perhaps before subject has been adequately covered Child can work where he or she is comfortable, is allowed to move around classroom as long as he or she is not disruptive to others
Emphasis is on the abstract Emphasis is on the concrete
Teacher provides stimuli to learning Child provides own stimuli to learning
Teacher centred environment Child-centred learning environment
All children are treated alike Child is treated as an individual
Silence is on many occasions enforced Liberty to speak (without disturbing others) as he pleases
Teacher does all and child is forced to follow Teacher's part is to guide child to act and think for himself.