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Dr. Montessori & Dr. King, Jr. On Education

January 18, 2021

Here are five quotes from Dr. King, Jr. with similar words from Dr. Montessori. We can reflect and appreciate how Dr. King’s thoughts on education fit with our Montessori philosophy.

#1 Both believed in the importance of developing the whole person through education

• “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” – MLK

• “An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking; it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.” – MM

#2 Both implore each of us to become the person we are meant to become

• “Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.” – MLK

• “The child’s work is to create the person s/he will become.” – MM

#3 Education, in both their minds, helps people think independently

• “To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction. The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.” – MLK

“We must help the child to act for himself, will for himself, think for himself; this is the art of those who aspire to serve the spirit.” – MM

#4 Education needs to provide students with work that interests them profoundly.

• “The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.” – MLK

• “The role of education is to interest the child profoundly in an external activity to which he will give all of this potential.” – MM

# 5 Both warned against “good” being silent/immobile

• “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – MLK

• “The first idea that the child must acquire … is that of the difference between good and evil; the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility and evil with activity.” – MM

Thank you Hillsboro School for this perceptive comparison, and for allowing us to borrow your words.