FAQ ON THE ALBANESI CURRICULUM FOR THE MONTESSORI METHOD
1) What are the benefits of the Albanesi Curriculum Program (ACP)?
Every Montessori guide is faced with the task of developing an organizational system that accomplishes these fundamental tasks:
a) Preparation of the academic environment – A teacher must know the academic program (language and math) that is customarily expected within the culture in which a child grows up. This means knowing which Montessori materials and exercises should be placed in the classroom and which exercises in language and math correspond to the age or grade level of each child. The ACP helps a teacher prepare the academic environment to achieve this goal. Each card level in an ACP Lab tells a teacher precisely which presentations, exercises and materials are needed in a classroom with respect to the ages and needs of students.
b) Objective assessment – A teacher must be able to determine objectively and efficiently the academic level of each student, i.e. what the student knows in the abstract and which presentations with manipulative concrete materials he/she still needs to receive and work with in order to achieve abstraction. A self-test administered to one child at a time provides an immediate objective feedback. From the assessment tests, the correct presentations can be planned and the appropriate Work Plan can be selected from which a student may freely choose one's work.
c) Concentrate on Montessori presentations – A Montessori teacher will need to spend most of the class time presenting the correct materials to the children, rather than guessing what to present. After the ACP assessment is done, a student is placed at the correct academic level, a level that involves work that is neither too challenging nor too easy, but developmentally appropriate.
d) Freedom from record-keeping – A teacher must be prepared to be accountable both to the parents and to the school director for the academic progress of the students. The ACP provides up-to-the-minute records of all academic work completed by the students, both in the form of written exercises and in the form of accurate conference reports.
e) Pride in Self-Achievement – Students are excited and proud of their self-achievement when the rewards are not meant to please others but to “construct the self.” Students enjoy being confident about what they learned, since empty praises will not foster their self-esteem. They are happy knowing that their own evaluation can be objectively demonstrated. The ACP encourages students to evaluate themselves objectively and to develop the self-motivation to achieve maximum proficiency at their own natural pace of learning and for their own self-pride.
2) Is the ACP applicable to the traditional method of education?
The traditional method of education is a form of class instruction where a teacher gives the same lesson to a whole class of students grouped by the same age. During the lesson, some children pay more attention than others and the teacher may ask for class participation by rewarding the most attentive children and by disciplining those children who are distracted and cannot or will not follow the lesson. Sometimes children can’t follow a lesson because their gaps of knowledge in the academic sequence of learning places them too far behind other children of their same age; sometimes children are bored or distracted and miss important information essential to the lesson. A traditional teacher does not have time to return to the same topic because someone has missed all or part of it. Covering the lessons in the textbook is the main concern of the traditional teacher and very little time, if any, may be spent in reviewing the material presented. Most learning practice, in the traditional system, takes place at home in the form of homework, with or without the help of an adult. The ACP is not compatible with the traditional system, because it is a program designed for Montessori individualized instruction with manipulative exercises that allow students of different ages each to work at their own pace with different topics, different subjects and different learning levels. No child is forced to listen to a lesson given to another child; no child who is working on his chosen activity is forced to interrupt his work. Each child follows a program tailored to his academic needs and interests. The ACP does not change the individualized, self-paced principles of the Montessori Method. The ACP is an organizational program that frees the teacher from a bulky record-keeping in the process of tracking the often unmanageable variety of the Montessori activities of the students.
3) Does the ACP foster competition among the students?
In the traditional system where students are grouped by age and where the same subject or topic is taught and practiced at the same time, competition is often used by teachers as a means to stimulate attentiveness and concentration. The student who does better than the others is praised by the teacher and often rewarded. But Montessori education fosters interest in learning for the sake of learning and students are not all of the same age. They do not all work on the same subject. Therefore, cooperation, rather than competition, is the norm. A student who works on a geography map exercise has no opportunity to compete with another who is working on the study of the adjective, or another who is learning to exchange units for tens, or another who is measuring the angles of a geometric shape. Each student is working on his own level and with his chosen work, always willing to help someone else who might be struggling with a brand new project. The ACP has no power of its own to foster competition among the students, unless the teacher takes the initiative in some way. If no adult compares two students of the same age who happen to work at the same level in the same subject by praising one for being ahead of the other, competition does not become an issue.
4) Does the ACP require additional training beyond the Montessori Teacher Preparation Course?
The ACP is designed to be used exclusively in Montessori prepared environments by teachers who have completed the Montessori preparation course for the level they intended to teach. No additional training is required. Each Control Book contains the answers to all the exercises pertinent to one subject and also functions as an instruction manual. In fact, the instruction portion of any of the Control Books for the academic subjects can also be obtained free as a downloadable PDF file at this link for PRIMARY TEACHERS:
and at this link for ELEMENTARY TEACHERS:
There may be schools and teachers near you who successfully use the ACP in their Montessori classrooms and who would be willing to show you how they have implemented the program successfully.
To request additional information, visit our websites and use the contact us button to email me. I'll be delighted to be able to answer any further questions and be of assistance in any way I can.
Mr. Franco Albanesi, AMI Bergamo, Italy
for Montessori Education
1914 Walnut Plaza
Carrollton, TX 75006 - USA