Montessori Madness! A Comparison Between Aviation Guidelines and Montessori Education

On January 23, 2010 Barrie School and The Evergreen School hosted at Barrie, Trevor Eissler, parent, pilot, and author of, Montessori Madness! A Parent’s Argument for Montessori Education, who exalted Montessori education. Parents and educators from many schools lauded the presentation.

Mr. Eissler’s observation and experience of his own child’s Montessori classroom environment and experience in Texas coincided with his own intuitive sense of what children should experience to grow to be successful. This is where children have an “intellectual adventure,” according to individual readiness in “the comfort of a loving relative’s home” and where obstacles that a child can’t handle are removed. He noted the benefit of the three year age span in classrooms, where the youngest child learns from the oldest and where everyone has the opportunity to become a leader and model for the children their junior. This mixed grouping is also a microcosm of adult living, providing practical experiences of working with varying abilities of group members effectively.

Trevor Eissler focused on correlations he made between recently implemented guidelines his aviation company uses for training jet pilots and methods of increasing air traffic safety records with Montessori teaching and learning principals. The principles his company now follows were devised by an expensive consulting firm hired to increase quality of training and safety and unequivocally mirror Montessori principles – which have been in effect for just over a century. These include teaching students starting from where their skills and knowledge currently lie and using students’ previous experience as a way to link and remember new information. Other principles include ensuring that learning has practical application with clearly set goals, encouraging students to work at their own individual paces, and providing students with meaningful and immediate feedback, which is the optimal time to integrate changes. Students are also encouraged to look for opportunities to practice skills, make mistakes, and develop the judgment of what needs to be implemented to be successful.

The new aviation safety guidelines meant writing up all mistakes, sharing these with 3000 pilots of the aviation company, identifying the errors and how to correct them, and encouraging all questions. Comparably, in Montessori education mistakes are viewed as a key to awareness of how something works so new action can be implemented in order to get different results. Mr. Eissler also cautioned about not teaching, “parasite lessons,” when what to do or not do turns into a negative lesson resulting in students learning to hide or feel ashamed of mistakes for fear of reprimand and humiliation.

The speaker reported that implementing the newly acquired principles has resulted in a substantial increase in the quality of pilots’ skills and safety records. Similarly, these principles have enabled Montessori children develop into well rounded, skilled adolescents and adults equipped for success. Finally, he noted that the cost of a Montessori education of one of his children for one year in his community costs $3000 less than a public school education. Trevor Eissler continues to encourage parents to stand up and speak out about the long term benefits of a Montessori education!!

The Institute still has a few copies of the speaker’s book costing $10. If interested, please contact Margie Frankel at After these are sold, books may be purchased through Trevor Eissler’s web site, for $20.00.

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