Montessori’s teleological approach to education and its implications

El enfoque teleológico de la educación Montessori y sus implicaciones

Catherine L’Ecuyer and José Ignacio Murillo

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22550/REP78-3-2020-06

Teleology is a fundamental aspect of Montessori education. Understanding its implications helps us appreciate Montessori’s deep affinity with Aristotelian thought and how her pedagogy differs from the New Education movement inspired by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The teleological approach has several implications in education: for example, when it comes to understanding concepts such as meaningful learning, active learning, learning stimuli, and progress. To understand the teleological approach in the Montessori method, this article discusses some of its fundamental pillars, such as the prepared environment, control of error, the absorbent mind, sustained attention, the development of personality, purposeful repetition, perfective activity, the joy of learning and the rational nature’s inclination towards its end.
According to Montessori, human activity is naturally oriented towards an end and is ordered by reason. The end of education is the child himself since education consists in perfecting the agent, bringing his potential into action. The child’s eagerness to develop his personality occurs through the spontaneous activity of his absorbent mind and through purposeful repetition, which generates positive habits. The absorbent character of his mind urges him to know, absorbing his surrounding environment. Hence, the prepared environment and control of error are
crucial. Perfective activity, performed with the right and strictly necessary amount of stimuli, helps the child find rest in meaningful voluntary activities done without obstacles. The resulting pleasure should not be understood as a mere experience; it should rather be seen in relation to a natural activity directed towards its end.


Please, cite this article as follows: L’Ecuyer, C., Murillo, J. I. (2020). El enfoque teleológico de la educación Montessori y sus implicaciones | Montessori’s teleological approach to education and its implications. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 78 (277), 499-517. doi: https://doi.org/10.22550/REP78-3-2020-06

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Catherine L’Ecuyer. Doctor in educa- tion and psychology from the Universidad de Navarra, she is currently collaborating with the Mind-Brain Group: Biology and Subjectivity in Philosophy and Contemporary Neuroscience, one of the research groups of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the Universidad de Navarra.

 https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1485-6849

José Ignacio Murillo. Doctor in philosophy from the Universidad de Navarra, he is currently Associate Professor at the Universidad de Navarra and Director of the Mind-Brain Group: Biology and Subjectivity in Philosophy and Contemporary Neuroscience, one of the research groups of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the Universidad de Navarra.

 https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9789-5573