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Master's Thesis (Action Research Report)

The Benefits of Parent-School Partnerships: A Cooperative Approach to Increase Student Learning and Achievement

Available from: St. Catherine University

Action research

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Abstract/Notes: This action research study was conducted at a rural Montana public school and included students in the first through third grade and their parent participants. The study investigated the ways that parent participation, through parent-school partnerships, could benefit student learning and achievement. The study used a combination of student surveys and interviews, while the parents completed an online survey and questionnaire. The results of the study focused on students’ perceptions of their parents’ involvement in their educational experience as well as primary ways that parents communicate with their child’s school, teachers, and their involvement with their child in and out of school. Further investigation of this study would focus on specific ways parents are involved in their child’s educational experience and observing and documenting parent-student involvement through a school-hosted program during a school day.

Language: English

Published: St. Paul, Minnesota, 2014

Master's Thesis (Action Research Report)

Learning Through Movement: Integrating Physical Education with the Classroom Curriculum

Available from: St. Catherine University

Action research

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Abstract/Notes: The purpose of the experiment was to find if integrating physical education with the culture curriculum would enhance participation and increase learning in the classroom. The experiment was conducted at a Montessori school with one hundred elementary students split into a control group and experiment group. The control group received the traditional established physical education lessons while the experiment group received lessons integrated with culture themes. A pre and post assessment were given to the students to track improvements in concept retention.Observations were made during the lessons and a survey was given to the supervising teachers. There was not a meaningful change in participation but there was significant increase in scores between the pre and post assessment with the first and second graders in the experiment group. Physical Education integration with the culture curriculum aided younger students in remembering classroom lessons. Physical education will now be integrated with the culture curriculum for all elementary classrooms.

Language: English

Published: St. Paul, Minnesota, 2013

Doctoral Dissertation

Language Learning and Technology in and for a Global World

Available from: University of California eScholarship

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Abstract/Notes: More than ever before, schools and societies are looking to educate children in and for a global world. In the United States, these efforts have taken the form of increased interest in incorporating global or international perspectives into educational curricula, programs, and policy over the past decade (Hayden, 2011; Parker, 2011; U.S. Department of Education, 2012). Despite this interest in what I call global education, ambiguity remains regarding what it means to provide an education for a globalized world, both in terms of its underlying motivations and its ultimate execution in practice (Ortloff, Shah, Lou, & Hamilton, 2012).Two components often placed at the heart of these efforts in the United States—second/foreign language and digital technology—both reflect and contribute to understandings of global education. This study, rooted in an ecological theorization of discourse, asked how different school actors (teachers, administrators, parents, and students) position these two components in education today, how these positionings differ across groups, and what this means for understandings of global education. These questions were investigated through two complementary approaches: a survey distributed to a large cross-section of schools around the United States and an in-depth focal case study of one school. The survey was distributed to teachers, students, parents, and administrators at a broad range of U.S. secondary schools and assessed perceptions of second/foreign language and digital technology in education today. The focal case study focused on two secondary classrooms at a multilingual immersion K-8 school in the western US over a four-month period; data collection included field notes, analytic memos, and audio/video recordings from participant observations as well as multiple rounds of interviews with five students, four teachers, two administrators, and three parents. Data were analyzed using iterative rounds of inductive and deductive coding (Miles & Huberman, 1994; Saldaña, 2009) and critical discourse analysis (Blommaert, 2005; Fairclough, 2001).Findings suggest that second/foreign language and digital technology were positioned in a range of different ways that had concrete ramifications for schools and that built up divergent understandings of global education. The survey component of the study highlighted common discourses reproduced across groups, including: second/foreign language learning as a way to promote cultural understanding and awareness as well as economic opportunity; or digital technology as a threat to learning and as an omnipresent necessity. The focal school offered a more detailed look into these different discourses and their reproduction across groups. Analysis revealed trended similarities and differences across groups. For example, even though parents, teachers, and administrators often articulated a similar understanding of second/foreign language and digital technology, parental actions suggested more alignment with economic-based understandings of these two components. These differences in how second/foreign language and digital technology should be positioned within a global education created a “battle” between parents and the focal school as well as tension within the learning environment. The impact of these discourses and battles on students was unclear: while students at times voiced the discourses that their parents, teachers, and administrators reproduced, data also suggests that students were influenced by outside sources. These findings suggest that resulting understandings of global education were multiple and divergent across school groups. Data analysis also revealed the potential that anxiety, concern, or even fear of globalization and its effects could undergird adult understandings of second/foreign language and of digital technology: beneath economic as well as cultural motivations for second/foreign language and for digital technology learning resided trepidation about a changing world, changing identities, and the unknowns that lay ahead. This suggests that, underneath multiple and complex discourses, there can be a singular discourse that manifests in different ways, nuancing understandings of ecological approaches to discourse. It also suggests that different understandings of global education could stem from the same place: fear or anxiety in the face of a globalizing world. These findings highlight the need for a global education that equips students to navigate a changing world, its challenges, and any potential fears that may arise from these changes and challenges. The study concludes with a pedagogical framework built around discourse analysis that could offer students tools to understand their globalizing world.

Language: English

Published: Berkeley, California, 2017

Doctoral Dissertation

A Single-Subject Multiple Baseline and Feminist Intertextual Deconstruction of Gender Differences Among Kindergartners in Learning the Alphabet Using Clay and a Tactual/Kinesthetic Multiple Intelligence and Montessori Pedagogy

Available from: Texas Tech University

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Abstract/Notes: This multimethod study involved quantitative procedures to measure to what extent a tactual/kinesthetic art approach using clay would help low achieving or developmentally delayed kindergarten students learn the alphabet (a pre-reading skill). Data collected at each session ranged from twenty to twenty-five meetings per child over a period of ten weeks occurred within a single subject, multiple baseline design. Qualitative data collection and analysis revealed differences in participants' reactions to, preferences for, and processes with clay such as expressing their lives, dreams, stories, beliefs, and fears. Analysis of social interactions, student self-initiated practices, and variations of the interventions (i.e., clay play personifying letters, ABC book, songs, associations, images on cards, and artworks) suggested that gender differences occurred more strongly when clothing differentiated gender, and in the types of stories told, but not in the clay processes initiated. I began the study with 18 participants, selected by their teachers, using the criterion that the student could not identify more than 17 alphabet letters. The findings are based on the 10 remaining students who were not able to name more than 17 letters after five baseline sessions. The baseline sessions consisted of recording students' recognition of lower-case alphabet letters. If a child did not recognize a letter, I implemented the tactual/kinesthetic clay instruction, a multiple intelligences pedagogical approach influenced by Montessori methods. The intervention of forming with clay was implemented at staggered times across groups of letters (three letters at a time) for each participant. The participant's recognition of the distinctive features of a letter demonstrated progress in learning a new letter. An intervention of a tactual/kinesthetic art approach using clay did improve all of the participant's abilities to recognize, learn, and remember letters. The findings support the theory that kinesthetic/tactile perception is a primary channel for early learning. In spite of the apparent importance of kinesthetic methods, multisensory learning, and manipulative materials, few programs that incorporate kinesthetic/tactile pedagogy. Interdisciplinary arts-based teaching addresses the multiple intelligences of individual children and their different learning styles.

Language: English

Published: Lubbock, Texas, 2002

Doctoral Dissertation

An Intergrated Learning Programme for the Knysna Montessori School

Available from: SEALS (South East Academic Libraries System)

Africa, Knysna Montessori School (Knysna, South Africa), Montessori method of education, Montessori schools, South Africa, Southern Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa

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Abstract/Notes: In line with Montessori methodology, the Knysna Montessori School runs its programmes in an integrated and holistic manner. Learning programmes are based on a blend of various Montessori learning programmes and the Revised National Curriculum Statement (RNCS). Classes are divided into three year-age groupings; and integrated learning programmes are in place within the pre-school, (including grade R), the grade 1 to 3 class, and the grade 4 to 6 class. However, the grade 7 to 9 Montessori class has been running in a more traditional and less integrated manner since its inception in 2004. That has motivated the undertaking of this study. The main aim of this qualitative study has been to determine how to best arrange the RNCS according to Montessori principles, that is to say, in a holistic and integrated manner, with the intention of presenting a learning programme for the grade 7 to 9 class. This aim was based on a constructivist philosophical foundation and addressed in conjunction with interpretivism and critical theory. The grounded theory research paradigm was followed. In this paradigm research findings are grounded in the data gathering and the analysis. Three methods of data collection were applied, namely a literature review, interviews and document analysis. A literature review was conducted to gain a better overview and understanding of the RNCS and Outcomes-Based Education (OBE). Furthermore, through the literature review, an in-depth understanding of the Montessori method of education, adolescent development and integrated and holistic education have been achieved. Interviews were conducted with staff from the Knysna Montessori School, with the purpose of gathering information on the Knysna Montessori School and its current application to the RNCS, from pre-school to grade 6. An availability and purposive sampling method was applied, in order to determine which staff members to interview. Finally, document analysis was done. The learning areas for the senior phase (grades 7 to 9) of the General Education and Training Band (GET) of the RNCS were coded and analysed in order to discover emergent themes within the RNCS and how these link with the Montessori curriculum arrangement for this age group. It became apparent that Montessori classrooms, both prior to and for the senior phase, are divided into three areas, namely language, mathematics and cultural studies. Based on this knowledge, as well as the documentary analysis, an integrated learning programme, grounded in the data analysis, was designed. It was found that the RNCS matches well with Montessori’s curriculum arrangement. Thus, this learning programme is in line with Montessori’s curriculum arrangement for the senior phase of the GET band. Such a curriculum arrangement integrates the learning outcomes and assessment standards from arts and culture, economic and management sciences, life orientation, natural sciences, social sciences and technology into different studies. These are globally referred to as cultural studies. However, specific attention was also given to moral education, self-expression through music, art and drama, entrepreneurship, career education and sport. The conclusion was reached that an integrated learning programme, based on Montessori principles and in line with the RNCS requirement, is possible for the Knysna Montessori School.

Language: English

Published: Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 2010

Doctoral Dissertation (Ph.D.)

An Exploration of the Experience of Teachers in Facilitating Meta-Learning Among Students in Christian Montessori Schools

Available from: ProQuest - Dissertations and Theses

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Abstract/Notes: This basic qualitative research records the author’s findings from the one-on-one in-depth personal interviews with twenty-three teachers, trainers, and administrators working for the Christian Montessori schools. The purpose of the study was to explore the experiences of the teachers in facilitating meta-learning, the how-to-learn and the why-to-learn, among students in the Christian Montessori schools. The findings are as follows: First, both the Montessorian training and the Christian spiritual preparation of the teachers in the Christian Montessori schools enables them to effectively facilitate both the how-to-learn and the why-to-learn meta-learning, which endorses their claim that they are the true heir of the original Montessori method; second, the teachers’ most meaningful way of facilitating meta-learning is students’ receiving spontaneous training through the teachers’ respectful scaffolding; third, the Christian Montessori school model is an integrated and viable system for educational reform pursuing both the how-to-learn and the why-to-learn at the same time.

Language: English

Published: Deerfield, Illinois, 2020

Doctoral Dissertation

Intuitive Understanding of Time and Space at the Age of Four (Four-Year-Olds, Learning)

Available from: ProQuest - Dissertations and Theses

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Abstract/Notes: The purpose of this study was to test the central hypothesis that “children by the age of four years construct accurate and lasting conceptions of time (Past, present, future) and space (near and far away).” In order to test this hypothesis the researcher relied on qualitative research guidelines developed and published in recent years to address social science and educational research issues. The research design is especially applicable to young children where the researcher assumes the role of participant observer. In order to control for the context of the research, the children were observed for time and space cognitive constructions while being taught a curriculum designed to address those concepts in an age appropriate format. The curriculum was on social studies with an emphasis on history and geography. The study was conducted in a private Montessori pre-school. The sample (n = 8) was purposive and selected to identify sensitivity conceptual development of time and space. The methodology used for collecting the data was action research and a survey questionnaire administered to the same children and parents after a lapse of time of three years. The data collected consisted of four anecdotal records and five visual data response sets of maps made by the children with commentaries. These data were analyzed through de-contextualized/re-contextualized analysis, descriptive analysis and interpretation. The data collected by the survey were further analyzed through an evaluative and comparative analysis. The findings support the thesis statement that children during their fourth year of life construct representations of space and time using “intuitive sensitivity”, or intuition. The effects of a specially designed curriculum may have enhanced these constructions, but the data from the study do not permit a direct affirmation of those effects. The study offers a basis from which to continue research into the nature, the limits, the extent and the boundaries of young children's understanding of time and space, and into the conditions under which this knowledge may occur and develop. These are questions concerning the epistemology of young children's time and space constructs which are in need of further inquiry.

Language: English

Published: Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1999

Doctoral Dissertation

An Analysis of Froebel's Play and Montessori's Work in Terms of Their Implementation as Learning Tasks in the Systems' View of Education

Available from: ProQuest - Dissertations and Theses

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Language: English

Published: New York City, New York, 1971

Master's Thesis (Action Research Report)

Effects of Classroom Talk Lessons on Student Perceptions of Collaborative Group Work in a Remote, Synchronous Montessori Elementary Learning Environment

Available from: St. Catherine University

Action research, COVID-19 Pandemic, Lower elementary, Montessori method of education, Online learning

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Abstract/Notes: This mixed-methods action research examined the effects of classroom talk lessons on children’s perceptions of collaborative group work in an online Montessori learning environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were 19 Lower Elementary students and one teacher/investigator. All work was online, both synchronous and asynchronous. Students were presented with lessons in classroom talk, and practiced these skills during online collaboration in the creation of a student newsletter. Key findings were that students use of classroom talk behaviors and rigorous thinking increased slightly over the four-week period and students’ perceptions of their community identity and the value of their ideas increased over the course of the intervention, most notably in younger students. Teaching classroom talk had positive effects on student agency, depth of collaborative work, and grace and courtesy in this digital Montessori classroom. Respectful disagreement was identified as an area for future study.

Language: English

Published: St. Paul, Minnesota, 2021

Doctoral Dissertation

The Potentiality of Play: The Shifting Design Language of Play-Based Learning

Available from: Edinburgh Napier University

Montessori method of education - Criticism, interpretation, etc., Play, Student-centered learning

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Abstract/Notes: This thesis, underpinned by cross-cultural design ethnography (DE) and research through design (RtD), re-reads play-based learning constructs as design practice. In doing so, it charts the shifting relationship between design and theories of play-based learning. The work frames the design of play-based learning processes, from their emergence in historical learning environments such as the Montessori method to current pedagogies of STEAM learning. This evolutionary focus will be of interest to a wide range of stakeholders such as pedagogues, designers, and policy makers, each of whom contribute to where, what and how children are taught. This thesis presents the following arguments: Firstly, it frames and re-reads key historical play pedagogues as designers and design thinkers, whose work has shaped and influenced the evolution of play-based learning through the inception of play artefacts, spaces, and structures. This thesis further elucidates that design-thinking has been at the heart of play-based learning, demonstrated through the design of modular and standardised pedagogic objects and spaces of historic learning environments. The design evolution within this framework helps to enlighten the development of tinkering and iterative prototyping as twenty-first century affordances of learning through play. Secondly, this thesis uses observation-based design ethnography of the Montessori method, to argue that Montessori’s restrictive pedagogy can be counterproductive to learning through intuitive processes of exploration and iteration. Thirdly, by adapting the practice-based research method of research through design (RtD), the thesis demonstrates and proposes that twenty-first century design affordances of tinkering and iteration can be suitably integrated to enrich historic play-based learning environments such as the Montessori method. In each of these arguments, the ways in which pedagogic theories of play are interwoven with the language of design thinking are revealed. By bringing into focus the triad of play, pedagogy, and design, an additional educational landscape of twenty-first century cultural learning environments is explored. Cultural learning environments (CLEs) such as museums and public galleries extend the scope of play-based learning beyond formalised spaces of schools and bring into relief, the predominance of design while incepting platforms, ateliers, and activities to initiate learning through play.

Language: English

Published: Edinburgh, Scotland, 2021

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