Autonomous: auto (self) + nomos (law) = “self-ruling or self-regulating”
Montessori said there are three types of autonomy: Intellectual Autonomy, Physical Autonomy, and Emotional Autonomy. By developing all three, a person is capable of becoming in charge of his or her own life.
One of the reasons so many parents choose Montessori is because they want to help their children on their journey to autonomy, independence and success. What does this mean for Montessori students?
Why Choose Montessori: Intellectual, Behavioral, Emotional Autonomy
Intellectual Autonomy: Intellectual autonomy is being able to think for oneself while maintaining reason. It means thinking through issues using one’s own thinking rather than blindly accepting the viewpoints of others. When provided with concrete experiences, students progress to abstract concepts. They are able to reflect upon their strengths and learn from their weaknesses. In fact, they seem to grow from these intentionally.
Intellectual autonomy utilizes metacognition (thinking about thinking). There are three steps in metacognition:
- Developing an action plan - What is my prior knowledge? What should I do first? How long will this take me? What materials will I need?
- Maintaining and monitoring the action plan - What is important information? How am I doing? What else do I need? What should I do if I don’t understand?
- Evaluating the action plan – How did I do? What could I have done differently?
Emotional Autonomy: Emotional autonomy is defined in terms of relationships with others and includes relinquishing dependencies and individuating from parents (Steinberg, 1999). It represents the ability to feel for one’s self. Emotionally autonomous individuals are self-confident and no longer feel the need to rely on peer approval. They learn to be aware of others. They are empathetic, employ active listening techniques, and are aware of physical boundaries and body language as a means of communication. They are also able to monitor their own health and well-being and are successful at managing anxiety and stress.
Montessori education, by fostering autonomy, helps create children who are:
- Confident, competent learners
- Independent and intrinsically motivated
- Socially responsible
- Citizens of the World
- Advocates for peace and justice
For more information relating to this blog, please feel free to visit our posts entitled Why Choose Montessori: Montessori vs. Contructivism, and Why Choose Montessori: Educating the Human Potential.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, July 20, 2007.