Creating a beautiful, light, spacious and accessible learning environment is one of the most attractive features of the Montessori method of teaching. According to this way of teaching, children learn at their own pace assisted by specially designed learning aids.
Montessori encourages children of different age groups to learn together, based on their belief that children emulate each other and learn and guide each other. They also learn social interaction, inclusion and acceptance while learning in such an environment.
The Montessori process focuses on making children more independent, giving them the ability to think for themselves and become more confident.
The Orton Gillingham Approach is a multisensory structured method to teach reading which forms the basis of most literacy programs. It is very direct in its approach with a focus on phonics techniques. It is designed to help children who have dyslexia or struggle to learn reading and is also used widely to teach students with learning difficulties.
According to the Orton Gillingham Approach, students are taught in small groups with children who are at the same level of learning and have similar skills as them. Instructors follow a structured approach that teaches the different skill sets required in a particular and designed order. Furthermore students have to master one skill at a time. However they must master the concept being taught before they can move on to learning something new. If they struggle or fail to grasp a concept then the instructor will teach those again, following the same method of teaching but applying different examples or explanations till the student learns the concept fully.
While both focus on activities, lessons and learning materials that are specifically designed to allow children to learn at their own pace, The Orton Gillingham Approach is more structured and focussed. Different materials used allow children to develop their focus and concentration skills in order to form the foundation for traditional academic leaning.
Too much independence, as offered by the Montessori Method, can often be a hindrance to learning as children often require discipline and guidance. Independence and self-guided work does not work for everyone. Children find comfort in the familiar, even if it’s as basic as having a traditional classroom environment or learning methods.
It could also result in over development in one aspect of learning as children will tend to focus more on what they enjoy, which could leave a child’s education imbalanced or incomplete. Therefore the curriculum has been cited as being too loose or not focused enough. Teachers tend to stand back and watch, therefore being more hands off than hands on and often stand at a distance while children unravel and learn concepts themselves.
It has also been claimed as being too expensive and unaffordable. Furthermore, the Montessori Method is not easily accessible to everyone which makes it somewhat elitist.
In comparison the Orton Gillingham Approach is a structured, step by step program that offers the routine and disciplined approach that children require.