Montessori guide decision-making : how elementary Montessori guides made instructional decisions

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2013-05

Authors

Hunt, Nathalie Jean

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Abstract

Teacher decision-making is referred to as the fundamental responsibility of teachers. All teachers are asked to make decisions on a daily basis in their classrooms. For decades researchers have collected data on teacher decision-making in hopes to understand how teachers make decisions and why. Interestingly, most researchers collect data on teacher decision-making only in public school classrooms. The purpose of this study was to collect teacher decision-making data in a nearly unexplored classroom environment, the lower elementary Montessori classroom. The objective of this study was to examine what characteristics operated in the decision-making of two lower elementary Montessori guides. The hypothesis was lower elementary Montessori guides may have more opportunities to understand and approach care and culturally responsive teaching given the Montessori environment seeks to develop the whole child. In order to explore lower elementary Montessori guide decision-making I chose to perform a qualitative case study design. First, I gathered information about the school. Second, I collected data on the two lower elementary Montessori guides in this study. Once data was collected I reviewed the data for emerging themes. Then, I asked the question how was care and cultural responsiveness understood and approached in the decision-making of these two lower elementary Montessori guides.The findings of this study revealed three (3) main influences on the decision-making of lower elementary Montessori guides at River Montessori: (1) Association Montessori Internationale Training (AMI); (2) school ideology; and (3) guide improvisation based on student observation. Care and cultural responsiveness was understood and approached by both lower elementary Montessori guides in this study. However, the enactments of cultural responsiveness fell short of normative understandings of culturally responsive teaching (Gay, 2000; 2002).

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