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Doctoral Dissertation (Ed.D.)

Fostering Prosocial Behaviors in Urban Elementary Schools: A Closer Look at the Montessori Approach

Available from: ProQuest - Dissertations and Theses

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Abstract/Notes: Montessori education emphasizes the development of prosocial skills, which are correlated with positive educational and behavioral outcomes in both middle-class and low-income school environments. Two recent studies document the effectiveness of the Montessori approach in this area. Historically, the Montessori method, developed in Italy in 1906, became widespread in American independent schools in the 1950s. With the advent of charter school legislation, the number of public Montessori schools serving lower income children has been increasing over the last decade. The purpose of this study was: (a) to observe and describe how Montessori teachers foster prosocial skills, and (b) to explore whether and how this differs in public and private Montessori schools serving students of different backgrounds/SES. Five mixed-age (first-third grade) Montessori classrooms (two private, three public) were observed and videotaped on two occasions between December 2006 and February 2007. An observation tool developed for non-Montessori classrooms was used to record teacher behaviors linked to prosocial skills development. Similar teacher strategies to promote prosocial skills were recorded in both the public and private schools. These similarities were apparent despite vastly different student and school characteristics. A number of teacher strategies typically associated with the promotion of prosocial skills which were emphasized in the observation tool were not observed in either school. The findings of this study raise questions about the use of observation tools outside of the context in which they were developed. This finding may also be attributed to the timing of the observations (in winter), as the teacher behaviors are more likely to be exhibited during the first few months of school. Interviews with teachers and principals also revealed different leadership needs of a start-up school as opposed to an established school.

Language: English

Published: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2007

Doctoral Dissertation (Ed.D.)

Negotiating Dual Accountability Systems: Strategic Responses of Big Picture Schools to State-Mandated Standards and Assessment

Available from: ProQuest - Dissertations and Theses

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Abstract/Notes: The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 mandated that states implement standards and test-based accountability systems. In theory, local educators are free to select the means for teaching the standards so long as students achieve a predetermined proficiency level on the exams. What is unclear, however, is how this theory plays out in schools committed to educational approaches that are seemingly incompatible with state-determined standards and testing. This dissertation examines how such schools strategically respond to the opposing demands of their program design and these government mandates. This qualitative study focuses on five schools affiliated with the Big Picture Learning (BPL) network. BPL offers an example of an educational program whose emphasis on individualized interest-driven learning and authentic real-world assessment is not easily aligned with standards-driven content and tests. This study considers empirical research on school-level response to externally imposed accountability mandates (Carnoy, Elmore & Siskin, 2003). In addition, it draws on sociology's organization-environment relations literature including institutional isomorphism (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983), agency (DiMaggio, 1988; Oliver, 1991) and the theoretical models of bridging, buffering and decoupling (Scott & Davis, 2007) to create a conceptual framework of how these BPL schools negotiate competing expectations. Findings show that these schools filter state demands for accountability through the lenses of both individual teachers and Big Picture design. While taking action both to meet the demands and protect the core program, schools internalize the value of a standards-based curriculum and increase internal accountability to incorporate content-standards while simultaneously rejecting the validity of testing and gaming the system. Currently, failure to meet state mandates comes with such severe consequences that these schools may be forced to choose between radically morphing to survive or maintaining integrity and possibly closing. However, if the regulatory climate becomes less standardized and more qualitative, these schools could be forerunners in meeting revised mandates. The study suggests policy implications surrounding the intersection of belief systems, consequences and strategic responses. It offers a cautionary tale about the power of the state, the precarious nature of falling outside state norms and what prioritizing bureaucratic efficiency may mean for innovation in education.

Language: English

Published: Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2012

Doctoral Dissertation (Ed.D.)

Square Pegs in Round Holes: Montessori Principals' Perceptions of Science Education in Texas Public Schools

Available from: ProQuest - Dissertations and Theses

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Abstract/Notes: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the perceptions of Texas public Montessori school principals as instructional leaders in science. Twelve public Montessori school principals were interviewed for this study. Two research questions were used: How do public Montessori principals perceive Texas science standards in public Montessori Elementary classrooms? How do principals view their role as an instructional leader in elementary science related to teachers' effectiveness and student outcomes? Research question one resulted in the following themes: (a) aligning curricula to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), (b) engaging science instruction as integrated and hands-on lessons, (c) emphasizing required district and state assessments, and (d) incorporating traditional teaching methodologies to support Montessori instruction. Research question two yielded common themes: (a) balancing Montessori methodologies and philosophies in public school settings with competing demands, (b) monitoring assessment scores as the determination of student success, (c) working in collaboration to support teacher effectiveness, and (d) providing resources and support to teachers. Implications for Montessori practitioners: paradox of Montessori education in a public school setting, strong support for science in classrooms from the principal and a need for continued research around Montessori education in public school settings.

Language: English

Published: Beaumont, Texas, 2013

Doctoral Dissertation

Pre-Kindergarten Classroom Practices in Oklahoma Public Schools: Influence of Teacher and Principal Beliefs and Characteristics

Available from: SHAREOK

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Abstract/Notes: The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) to examine the relations between pre-kindergarten (pre-K) teachers' characteristics, belief in developmentally appropriate practices (DAP), and DAP classroom practices and 2) to examine the relations between principals' characteristics, DAP and testing beliefs, and preferred pre-K classroom practices. Sixty-six principals and 63 pre-K teachers from public schools in small districts (districts with only one elementary school) in Oklahoma participated. Principals and teachers completed questionnaires containing DAP, demographic, and time allocation information. Data were analyzed using correlations and regressions.Findings and Conclusions: In the study of teachers, number of child development courses taken (r=-.29) and number of years experience teaching pre-K (r=.30) were related to DAP beliefs. The relation of DAP beliefs to DAP classroom practices was moderated by teacher's beliefs in the importance of obedience; DAP beliefs and practices were positively related for teachers with lower belief in the importance of child obedience. In the study of principals, principals' ECE courses taken (r=.36), ECE state test certification (r=.59), elementary certification (r=.34), number of years as a principal (r=-.25), years teaching preschoolers (r=.35), experience teaching 4th to 6th grades (r=-.35), and years teaching 4th to 6th grades (r=-.30) were related to principals' beliefs in DAP. Principals' ECE state certification (r=.41), ECE courses taken (r=.27), and years teaching 4th to 6th grades (r=-.33) were related to preferred DAP classroom practices and experience teaching 1st to 3rd grades (r=-.29) was related to use of workbooks and worksheets. DAP beliefs (r=.60) were significantly related to preferred DAP classroom practices. Testing beliefs were not related to principal characteristics or preferred classroom practices. The relation between the number of early childhood courses taken by principals and preferred DAP classroom practices was mediated by principals' beliefs in DAP.

Language: English

Published: Stillwater, Oklahoma, 2010

Article

Progressive Schools in Latin America

Available from: Internet Archive

Publication: Bulletin of the Pan American Union, vol. 62, no. 5

Pages: 453-467

Americas, Colombia, Gimnasio Moderno (Bogota, Colombia), Latin America and the Caribbean, Montessori method of education, South America

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Abstract/Notes: Discusses Gimnasio Moderno in Bogota, Colombia and their progressive educational model which consists of a combination of pedagogies, including Montessori.

Language: English

ISSN: 2332-9424

Doctoral Dissertation

Magnet Schools: Implications for Curriculum Development

Available from: University of Illinois - IDEALS

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Abstract/Notes: Central to this study is the Kankakee, Illinois School District 111 magnet school program, including a comparison of the magnet program to the regular or non-magnet curriculum program in Kankakee. Findings indicated that magnet students exhibited greater gains in some areas, including test results, as compared to their nonmagnet counterparts, supporting the idea that student, teacher, and parent choice of a learning environment has a direct impact on learning results.

Language: English

Published: Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, 2006

Doctoral Dissertation

An Historical Analysis of the Role of Magnet Schools in the Desegregation of Riverview School District

Available from: University of Illinois - IDEALS

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Abstract/Notes: This historical study provides a concise history of desegregation in public schools in the United States and the subsequent establishment of magnet schools. An historical timeline from the establishment of the first magnet schools to current magnet schools models of excellence was presented. Equity theory framed this study as educational practitioners continue to strive for equal access to educational programs for all students. This study examined historical, racial, and socio-economic data from a school district in central Illinois that established magnet programs in 1979 to stop White flight. The results of the study included information regarding the historical and political events that led to the establishment of magnet programs. Additional data examined if the magnet programs led to improved integration in the school district and if there were differences between students enrolled in both the magnet classes and the non-magnet classes in terms of race and socio-economic status. The study found that there were many factors which led to the establishment of the magnet programs in Riverview. Additionally, the study found that the magnet programs did not accomplish their initial task, and that there are some significant racial and socio-economic differences between students enrolled in magnet and non-magnet classes. Recommendations for further study were provided.

Language: English

Published: Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, 2015

Doctoral Dissertation

The New Independent Schools: A Study of Their Characteristics and Patrons' Expectations

Available from: University of Southern California - Digital Library

Americas, Independent schools, Montessori schools, North America, United States of America

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Abstract/Notes: This study was concerned with the emergence of a new form of private school in the United States and particularly within the state of California, the new independent school, and with the parents of children attending these schools. The problem of the study was to highlight and define the existence of new independent schools; to identify their characteristics; to determine their scope and influence; to establish their potential contributions to the public school system; and to describe the backgrounds, motivations, and educational expectations of the parents supporting such schools.

Language: English

Published: Los Angeles, California, 1975

Doctoral Dissertation

Enacting Accountability in Innovative Schools: The Sensemaking Strategies of Public Montessori Principals

Available from: University of Virginia

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Language: English

Published: Charlottesville, Virginia, 2021

Doctoral Dissertation

A Comparative Assessment of Some Aspects of Number and Arithmetical Skills in Montessori and Traditional Preschools

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Language: English

Published: Syracuse, New York, 1978

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