Montessori is one of the most fascinating and controversial pedagogues of all time. On the one hand, the naturalists reproached her for the rigidity and artificiality of her method, as well as her rejection of productive imagina­tion and fantasy. On the other hand, progres­sive educators reproached the individualist and prescriptive character of her method. The mod­ernists reproached her for her religiosity. Some criticized her for accelerating learning or for not respecting the freedom of the child, others for the contrary. Christians branded her a sec­ularist, positivist, naturalist, and theosophist, while theosophists defined her as Catholic.

These paradoxical criticisms are due, among other reasons, to the context of the an­timodernist frenzy in which she developed her method, to her network of friends in Freema-son circles, to the numerous nuances of her method, to her resistance to fitting in with ex­isting educational currents, to the instrumen­talization of her method by third party inter­ests, to her sometimes entangled and not very clear language and to the lack of knowledge of her method in action.

Please, cite this article as follows: L’Ecuyer, C. (2023). Montessori: origen y razones de las críticas a una de las pedagogas más controvertidas de la historia | Montessori: Origin and reasons for the criticisms of one of the most controversial pedagogues of all time. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 81 (285), 251-270. 10.22550/REP81-2-2023-01

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Author Biography

Catherine L’Ecuyer. Doctor of Edu­cation and Psychology at the University of Navarra and bestselling author of The Won­der Approach, It Looks Better in 3D, Montes­sori ante el legado pedagógico de Rousseau [Montessori in the face of Rousseau’s pedagogical legacy] and Conversaciones con mí maestra [Conversations with my teacher], among others. She currently col­laborates with the Mind-Brain Group, a research group of the Institute of Culture and Society (ICS) of the Universidad de Navarra.


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Palabras clave | Keywords

antimodernism, evidence-basededucation, freemasonry, positivism, progressive education, theosophy, unity of knowledge